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Popovych focused on Tour, then contract

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery)

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery) (Image credit:

By Gregor Brown in Joigny

Yaroslav Popovych is in his final year of his contract with Discovery Channel team, and after a difficult Giro d'Italia, he is ready to prove himself in the Tour in order to secure a new contract. The 27 year-old winner of the Tour's young rider competition in 2005 joined the American team to learn and work for Lance Armstrong, but now he is in a position to lead in his own right.

"I feel good, every day I feel better and better compared to the first days," he told Cyclingnews Wednesday morning in Villers-Cotterêts. "We will see how my legs go once we reach the mountains. After the Giro, with the crash, I did not race for about one mouth and for this reason it will be a little difficult in the first days but I hope to continue get better."

Tinkoff team owner, Oleg Tinkov, has indicated desires to work with the Ukrainian but 'Popo' played-down any such deal. "No, no. We have talked as friends but not on a basis of being a rider [for Tinkoff]."

Popovych indicated his unsatisfactory Giro delayed his negotiations, which are ongoing. "I am still talking," he said. "Before the Giro I was talking but then I did not do so well at the Giro and I stopped talking up to now. I hope for a good Tour to have a good contract. There is a ninety percent chance I will remain here with Discovery." The pressure will be on 'Popo' to perform when the Tour hits the big mountains of the Alps and Pyrénées.

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