Monday, August 20, 2007

Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team to Fold at End of Season

The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, which counted 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador along with Levi Leipheimer and Yaroslav Popovych (third and eighth place respectively overall in the TdF) on its roster, has announced it will fold at the end of the year.

Though disappointing to many, the news comes as no surprise. Tailwind Sports, the team's owner, has been aggressively seeking sponsors since February, when Discovery Channel announced it was ending the corporate partnership with Tailwind Sports.

"We were in talks with a number of companies about the opportunity and were confident a new sponsor was imminent. We have chosen, however, to end those discussions," said General Manager Bill Stapleton, in a Tailwind press release announcing the decision.

The inability of Tailwind Sports to find a new sponsor for the Discovery Channel team -- a group which has had unparalled success in professional sports, with eight Tour de France victories in nine years -- says a lot about the climate in professional cycling today. Sources say Tailwind was looking for $45 million for three years, and there are very few companies ready to shell out those kind of heavy bucks just to risk a PR debacle when some rider tests hot on a drug test.

Source: Bicycling- David Fiedler

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