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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Discovery Channel axe 11 riders
Paolo Savoldelli
Paolo Savoldelli has twice won the Giro d'Italia
The Discovery Channel team is releasing 11 riders, many of whom helped Lance Armstrong to one or more of his seven straight Tour de France titles.

Among those leaving are Manuel Beltran, two-time Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli and Briton Roger Hammond.

"After the retirement of Lance in 2005, it was natural for our team to begin making changes," said Discovery Channel manager Johan Bruyneel.

"We are now looking at new objectives in addition to the Tour de France."

The other riders leaving are Jose Azevedo, Benoit Joachim, Michael Barry, Leif Hoste, Gennady Mikhaylov, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Max Van Heeswijk.

Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov will move into management as an assistant to Bruyneel.

Meanwhile, Discovery have recruited Uros Murn of Slovenia and Gianni Meersman of Belgium to the team.

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