The retirement of Lance Armstrong in 2005, and the collapse of the Discovery Channel team at the end of 2007 appeared to signal the end of an American team in the European peloton. Seeing the void Jonathan Vaughters took the initiative and went about building up the Slipstream program for 2008, developing it into a full fledged European program.
With the backing of private investor Doug Ellis, Vaughters brought in experienced European professionals Mangus Bäckstedt, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie and David Millar. The addition of experienced European riders mixed with the best of America’s up and coming talent resulted in an extremely successful 2008 season.
David Millar started the 2008 season with a strong second place overall in the Tour de California. The team then won the opening time trial at the Giro d'Italia and in doing so put Vande Velde in the pink jersey of race leader. The team’s early season results along with their much-publicized anti-doping program earned them a wild card selection to the Tour de France and a title sponsor with GPS manufacturer Garmin. At the Tour de France the team rode above expectations with Vande Velde finishing fifth overall. The team ended the season with Vande Velde taking overall victory at the Tour of Missouri and Zabriskie repeating his 2007 national time trial victory.
The Garmin-Chipotle roster remains largely unchanged due to the success of the 2008 season. One notable addition is that of Olympic gold medalist and time trial specialist Bradley Wiggins.
Road Bike Action traveled to the Garmin-Chipotle team launch in Boulder, Colorado to see America’s Team as they enter their first year as a ProTour team.
David Millar and Bradley Wiggins are two of the best time trial riders in the world. Combined with Zabriskie, Vande Velde and Pate, the Garmin-Chipotle team is already a favorite for the team time trial at next years Tour de France.
Tyler Farrar and Danny Pate chat during the presentation. Farrar is one of the team’s sprinters, but has been shown promise as a classics rider.
Mangus Bäckstedt enjoys a lighter moment with Christian Vande Velde before turning his focus to winning Paris-Roubaix for a second time. Vande Velde’s season goals are later in the season where he hopes to improve on his fifth place finish at the Tour de France.
David Zabriskie entertains the crowd with random stories about random things.
Tom Danielson looks on as other riders are introduced. Danielson hopes to put the injuries of the last couple of seasons behind him.
Bradley Wiggins answers a question from the crowd.
Pearl Izumi has been working closely with team to develop its line of aerodynamic jerseys, shorts and skinsuits. Here the Pearl Izumi Speed Suit is used to show the teams updated look for 2009.