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Phonak intends to be right up there

Team Phonak intends to be among the front-runners in next year's Tour de France, after the parcours was presented on Thursday in Paris. "We're going to the Tour with the intention of being right up there at the top," said boss Andy Rihs, who added that he was happy with the relatively straightforward first week. "That offers the riders the chance to start out the Tour on a quiet note," said Rihs. But team manager John Lelangue warned against taking the first week too lightly. "The stages have rolling terrain, which suits us well. The first days, however, are always a bit tense. We have to be careful that we go into the first time trial in the best shape."

Lelangue expects Floyd Landis to play a major role, especially in the difficult second half. "During a big tour, Landis will get better with each day," said Lelangue.

At last week's training camp, the Phonak team organised its training program with a view to the 2006 Tour de France. Last year, Lelangue did not take over the reins of the team until January. "Now everything is running smoothly and there's no reason for me to have any doubts as far as the future of the team goes," finished Lelangue.

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