Discovery Team - Paris

The world of professional cycling will say goodbye to the American-backed Discovery Channel team (formerly the US Postal Service team) this year. The move coincides with the retirement of team manager Johan Bruyneel, who lead Lance Armstrong to his seven wins of cycling’s greatest prize. Alberto Contador’s individual victory as well as the team’s top placement in the Tour de France mean that they are going out on top. However, according to Mark Zalewski, writing for cyclingnews.com, the team’s general managers felt that they could no longer recommend a professional cycling team as a solid investment in the current climate of the sport. And so at the hands of those who feel the need to win at whatever cost, the sport loses a key team and the only major American presence in the predominantly European sport.

ArmstrongWho is to blame? Certainly the dopers themselves, but then the current crisis never would have evolved if the teams themselves were not looking the other way, fostering an attitude of permissiveness. I’m disappointed in the recommendation made by managers, Stapleton, Stagg and Armstrong, but recognize too that given the current controversy surrounding the sport, it’s entirely possible that they would have been unable to secure the financial backing required to run a first-class cycling team. And given the mess of the cycling community itself, maybe the loss of key players will send the necessary message to the rest of the teams, play fair or there will be not much left to play for. Nonetheless, I still cannot help but to be sad for the passing of an era. Stan and I have been married for ten years and during those years, we watched Lance Armstrong battle back miraculously from cancer, become one of the most formidable riders ever to grace the slopes of the French Alps and Pyrenees, and head up one of the most remarkable teams in cycling history. It is with regret–but also reverence–that I mark the passage of that team and in doing so, close a chapter on my life as well. Thanks for the memories, USPS and Disco.

Picture of Discovery riders atop the podium in Paris in 2007 courtesy of cyclingnews.com. Photo of Lance Armstrong riding for USPS courtesy of cyclinghalloffame.com.

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