Phonak aiming high

Team Phonak has selected a strong line-up for the Tour de France, which begins in Fromentine this...

Team Phonak has selected a strong line-up for the Tour de France, which begins in Fromentine this Saturday, July 2. The team has plenty of options for both stage wins and the overall classification, headed by two time stage winner Santiago Botero.

"After a good season so far, I also want to have a strong performance at the Tour de France," said Botero. "My goal is to claim some podium spots. A third stage win is the dream of my sixth Tour. To climb up on the podium at the Tour de France is always an incredible experience. It's going to be a hard race once again. My favourite for the overall win is clear: Lance Armstrong will be the winner in Paris for the seventh time."

Floyd Landis is keeping his options open, and hopes he can ride for the GC. "It's every rider's dream to win the Tour de France - mine as well," said Landis, who also tipped his former captain Armstrong for the overall. "Victory this year will probably go to Lance Armstrong again.

"Actually, I came to Phonak as a helper. Now I'm one of the leaders. I needed some time to get used to the new role. But it's not bad. We trained two weeks on Tour de France routes. We know that the second part of the course will be very difficult. But our Phonak team has a lot of good riders. Therefore, we have several options for a top result."

Spaniard Oscar Pereiro said, "I want to improve on my 10th place finish last year in the general classification. Nevertheless, I'm putting all my energy completely behind the team. I want one of the Phonak riders to be standing on the podium in Paris. Personally, I have my eyes set on a stage win."

Swiss rider Alexandre Moos is the only member of the Phonak team who is participating in the Tour de France for the first time. He has already completed two tours, the Giro and the Vuelta. But he has respect for the Tour de France, and the 33 year-old will ride completely in the service of the team.

Team Manager John Lelangue commented, "Alexandre Moos can be very helpful for the three Phonak captains, Floyd Landis, Santiago Botero and Oscar Pereiro, during the entire Tour de France. He's a good team player." If the opportunity arises, of course the Swiss rider also wants to have a good finish. Why not a stage win?"

Lelangue also spoke about his captains: "[Botero] could find his way back to victory this season after a two-year drought marked by viral infections. At the moment, Botero is one of the best climbers, and he can also attack on flat courses and perform well in time trials. If he rides this year's Tour de France as well as he did three years ago, he's sure to have a top finish."

Floyd Landis is "in good shape," according to Lelangue. "His strengths lie both in time trials as well as in the mountains. Floyd Landis is an all-round rider and a very good captain. He was a teammate of Lance Armstrong for the past three years. Now he has the chance to put his own ideas into action. I'm very optimistic that he will have a very good Tour de France.

"Oscar Pereiro was able to gather Tour de France experience last year and even finished in 10th place in his premiere. He's still young, and I want to prepare him for the next couple of years. I'm convinced that he'll be up there on the podium in future."

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