After winning April's Tour de Georgia, the 27-year-old is dubbed the Next Big Thing by teammate Lance Armstrong.
The U.S. mountaineer (below), 45, tops Annapurna on May 12 to conclude his 16-year quest to scale all 14 8,000-meter peaks without O2.
Appointed CEO of the Subaru Primal Quest last week, he'll bring back the expedition race in '06.
The Italian star and CSC team leader lost his overall lead on Saturday and the next day bombed in the 14th stage of the May 7--29 Giro d'Italia to drop out of contention.
The renowned 85-year-old mountaineer misses his annual trip to Everest base camp because of the political turmoil in Nepal.
The race director of the Primal Quest leaves six months after a competitor dies during the race.
MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (BASSO)
VEIKKA GUSTAFSSON (VIESTURS)