Johan Bruyneel has admitted that Alberto Contador is the favourite to win this year's Tour de France but think the RadioShack team also has a good chance of victory. He also revealed that he was able to create Team RadioShack exactly as he wanted, in contrast to Team Astana where he was team manager the previous two years.
"Contador is the top favourite and we are underdogs. But we start the Tour to win it," he said in an interview with the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
"Contador can be beaten. It is not easy but I still believe that Lance can win for the eighth time . There are still 50 days before the Tour starts. I see in his eyes that everything must now give way to this one goal."
In putting together Team RadioShack, “I deliberately chose a homogenous group with extensive experience and a focus on the Tour,” Bruyneel said.
"There had been some bright spots: Tiago Machado, Ben Hermans, who I'm very happy with despite his broken foot, and especially Sebastien Rosseler. We haven't seen everything from Rosseler yet. He is almost certain to be in the Tour selection.”
Bruyneel's time with Team Astana was not easy, with reports that he did not get along with Contador. The main problem for him, though, was Alexandre Vinokourov. “I spoke with Contador after the Criterium International. I feel that he has nothing against me, as I have absolutely nothing against him. It was not easy last year. Not for him, not even for Lance and me. But Astana was never my team. It was Vino's team then and it is Vino's team now, and not Contador's team.”
Bruyneel was also under pressure to sign Vinokourov when the Kazakhstani returned from his doping suspension. “I was constantly under press to take him again,” against my will, he indicated.
Finances were and continue to be another problem. "I am still waiting for the final quarter 2009 payment. Riders and staff have not gotten all their money. I've already taken Astana to court," he revealed.