One step at a time for Klöden

Another of T-Mobile's 2005 Tour hopefuls is Andreas Klöden. The 29 year-old has had a rather inauspicious start to the year, where he pulled out of his last race at La Flèche Wallonne, now over a month ago.

Since then, last year's runner-up at the Tour de France has been focusing on his endurance, training for six and a half to seven hours a day around his home base in Switzerland, and says he is improving with each ride.

"If I think back to Flèche Wallonne and compare my fitness levels then with now, I can be satisfied with the progress I have made. Of course, I am far from my peak form, but I need to bide my time," Klöden said in an interview on the team's website. "I have been training with steadily increasing intensity, as I am well aware that my performance levels are not just going to improve overnight."

Asked where he's at in terms of his Tour de France preparations, Klöden said he will need to start racing in order to determine where he's at: That is hard to say," he said. "I have got to start racing again to get back into it. One step at a time. But I am happy with the way things are going at the moment."

As reported previously, Klöden will make his return at the five-day Tour of Bavaria (Bayern-Rundfahrt) in his home country tomorrow, and will use the race to develop his speed, endurance and power. Afterwards, he will resume light training, before tackling the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré from June 5-12.

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