January 12, 2005 – I’ve just arrived in Solvang, California for our training camp, fresh from the team presentation in Maryland.
The team launch was bigger than in past years with the entire team traveling to Maryland to the Discovery headquarters for the presentation. The entire presentation was televised and will be shown throughout the world. The other noticeable difference for us from past years was that the team is now much bigger and there are 15 nationalities represented. As they introduced the riders one by one I quickly became aware that we no longer had a team just for the Tour but also a very solid classics team and Giro team. There is far more depth in the new team and our goals have increased as a result.
From the presentation of the team at the Discovery headquarters we went to Capitol Hill where several members of Congress that were presenting new initiatives to increase activity in the American population to decrease obesity. From there we were on the plane and headed to California for our training camp.
The jerseys look good when they are in motion in the group and the yellow band on the sleeve of the jersey represents the livestrong bracelet campaign. A dollar from the sale of every jersey will be donated to the LAF.
I am rooming in Solvang, a small town in California where we are having our training camp, with Yaroslav Popovych. He is a quiet thoughtful guy and is just learning English. It is quite awesome that he has accomplished all he has a pro cyclist considering he was born in the ’80s.
In the next weeks we’ll be accumulating some heavy mileage in preparation for the coming races. A team of riders will head directly to Malaysia from camp, and another to Qatar while the rest of the team will begin racing either in Algarve, Portugal or Andalusia, Spain.
As the team is bigger this year we are splitting up into two groups on the training rides so that we can get more workload in. The first group rides a little faster than the second as they are preparing for the classics and early season events.
Look for the team to be on TV a lot more in the future as Discovery will be very active and involved with the team.