Jan Ullrich, the recent runner up in the Deutschland Tour, will be back in action again this Sunday in the Grand Prix Ouest France-Plouay. The one-day race in Brittany, the traditional home of French cycling, forms part of the UCI ProTour. The T-Mobile captain will be joined by Alexander Vinokourov on the undulating parcours. The dual 2005 Tour de France stage winner dropped out of the Deutschland Tour because of a cold. Matthias Kessler also forms part of the team, and is the third Tour de France rider who will race for T-Mobile in Plouay. The seven man roster is rounded off by Torsten Hiekmann, Jan Schaffrath, Christian Werner, and Sergey Yakovlev.
Team director Valerio Piva's expects a tough, fast race. "Especially the French teams will be highly motivated," said Piva, who calls the region close to the French Atlantic coast "one of the most cycling-crazy areas in France." Year after year, more than 100,000 spectators swarm to the Circuit Jean-Yves Perron. Piva sees this as an advantage: "We are not pressed to set the pace, instead we can keep an eye on how the race develops. If Jan Ullrich can maintain his form from the Deutschland-Tour, we may have a chance at the finale."
A total of 25 teams, including five wild card continental teams, will tackle the 13 laps (195 km) around the town of Plouay, which hosted the 2000 Cycling World's. Among the favourites are defending champion Didier Rous and Laurent Brochard (both Bouygues Telecom), the Italians Luca Paolini and Filippo Pozzato (both Quick Step), 2001 winner Nico Mattan from Davitamon-Lotto, the Dutchman Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) and the Spaniard Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros).