Swiss team Phonak's manager Andy Rihs is looking forward to the Tour de France as Santiago Botero, Floyd Landis and Oscar Pereiro proved to be in good shape at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, where especially the Colombian made a superb come-back after two unsuccessful years at T-Mobile. "The members of our team are able to dominate the race," Rihs replied when asked what had impressed him most about Phonak's riding at the French event. "They never ceased to influence the outcome of this very hard stage race. Santiago Botero is in the same shape as in 2002, when he won the Tour's time trial as well as a similar mountain stage. He placed fourth on GC that year, and is on the same level again now."
Asked if he thought if a podium placing was within reach at the 2005 'Grande Boucle', Rihs replied, "In cycling, hoping is a rule. But I don't want to overestimate his magnificent performances. Lance Armstrong took part in the Dauphiné, but Jan Ullrich, as well as a number of other Top Ten contenders, was missing. But today, we are probably one of the three best teams in the world."