Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile team leader and the man who gets Lance Armstrong up in the morning, says he's not planning to repeat his 2004 Tour of Switzerland victory. Just as Armstrong is using the Dauphiné Libéré as preparation for the Tour de France, so Ullrich will be trying to race himself into good shape for his final showdown with Armstrong.
"Repeating last year's victory is not on my mind, it's all about a measured build-up to the Tour de France," Ullrich said. "I'm convinced that I am a bit further ahead compared to the same time in previous years. I still have about three pounds to lose but that's intended. Now I must race again in order to achieve a fine cross section of fitness. That means I must convert the strength I have into speed."
Just as Armstrong has been using the hilly stages of the Dauphin to guage his form, so Ullrich will look to the Swiss mountains as an indicator of his ability t battle Armstrong when the Tour de France reaches the Alps and the Pyrenees.
"These stages will give me a chance to test my climbing form. I want to be in front on at least one or two stages," Ullrich said.