Eisel to the Tour without expectations

By Susan Westemeyer

Francaise des Jeux's Bernhard Eisel gives the impression that he will be riding the Tour de France against his will. After the Austrian nationals on Sunday, he spoke to team manager Marc Madiot, "and told him about my condition. And I let him know not to expect any miracles from me. He said I could go to France with no pressure on me and so I agreed," he wrote on his personal website, www.eisel.com.

Eisel finished the race on Sunday in 21st place, nearly 3 minutes behind the winner. "I'll go to Strasbourg on Wednesday and go into the race with different expectations than I had just a few weeks ago. A month ago I dreamed of winning a stage, now maybe I can get on the podium (at a stage), but not more than that. I probably won't be able to come by Tom Boonen or Robbie McEwen," he said.

Eisel's contract with the French team expires this season, and he admits that his current form -- or lack thereof -- makes it difficult to renew or look for an alternative. "It's hard to negotiate, when I'm just standing around like a stone!" he told www.sport1.at. He expects to receive an offer from his current team, "but it's a question of money."

He has some specific ideas of where he might or might not go. "The only team that I wouldn't go to is Gerolsteiner, they have too many sprinters and nobody will guarantee you in writing the role of number one. If it is to be Germany, then T-Mobile. That is my absolute dream team, internationally there is no better address." Outside of Germany, he says, Discovery Channel and Saunier Duval would also be of interest. "There are alternatives."

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