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92nd Tour de France - July 2-24, 2005

Full description    The stages  

Rider reactions

"A balanced race," says Bruyneel, who rates Armstrong 50/50 to defend title

By Tim Maloney & Hedwig Kröner in Paris

Johan Bruyneel - Armstrong still 50/50 on attempting 7th straight
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(October 28, 2004): While Lance Armstrong didn’t make the trip this year to Paris to comment on the Tour, his Discovery Channel team director, Johan Bruyneel, was there and he told Cyclingnews, “This parcours is very similar to recent Tours and it’s a very balanced race. As a race, the 2005 Tour fits Lance well; but we don’t know it he’s going to race the Tour or not …we haven’t made a decision yet and for the moment, the chances that Lance will ride are 50/50.

"He may do it when he can motivate himself and there’s also a real chance he doesn’t ride. Lance has gone through six years of a lot of stress and a lot of dedication to the race and to do that another year is difficult. So we’re going to let the season start and see how he feels,” Bruyneel added.

Thomas Voeckler: The popular young French rider, who wore the Maillot Jaune for ten days this year, explained that “ This Tour is very open to surprises, as there are three weeks between the time trials. So the rouleurs of the past years, better at time trials than in the mountains, will have to attack much more in the climbs to gain time. There are treacherous stages like the 18th stage to Mende, or the one in Alsace: the 9th stage to Gérardmer with the Ballon d’Alsace climb.

"There might be a tight finish until the last time trial like this year. But the fact that there are only two individual time trials without a prologue adds an interesting new turn to the race, which I like,” he said.

What’s your goal for the Tour 2005? “I’m not going to the Tour start with a particular goal in mind. I don’t need that to give it 100 percent, as I’m very motivated anyway. I’ll see how the race evolves from day to day and try to seize the opportunities as they show up.”

When Voeckler was asked, ‘Who will be the winner in 2005?’ the rider responded, “Everybody says Lance Armstrong will win the next Tour, too, and it’s a safe bet to say that. But I think Ullrich will finally win a second time.” When asked about his own ambitions, Voeckler said, “Oh là là… I’m only 25 years old – certainly not next year. And it will be hard enough even during the next years to wear Yellow in Paris. For next year, I’ll try to be an active part of the race and then we’ll see. But the first placings in Paris are a little out of my reach. But I want to do well.”

Vladimir Karpets: Other riders reacting to the Tour included this year's Best Young Rider, present in Paris for the presentation. The talented long-haired Russian told Cyclingnews that “This Tour is as hard as the last one. There are less time trial kilometres to ride, which is not in my interest. I would have preferred one more time trial.”

Vladimir Karpets (r) is greeted by Richard Virenque
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Karpets’ Illes Balears team manager, Francis Lafarge, said, “We will have a strong team with Karpets and Valverde for this Tour. But our leader in France will be Karpets. Valverde will discover the Tour de France, it will be his first. So Vladimir will be our leader. But there will also be Mancebo, so we will see about leadership when it’s time. But for Valverde to lead would be too soon: When you’ve never climbed the Tourmalet, you can’t think about a Tour victory yet.”


Richard Virenque: Who will succeed you in the quest for the polka-dot jersey? "Oh - I wouldn't know. Like they say, make your bets… We will have to see in June who are the climbers that could make it at that point in time, because to say today - 10 months ahead - who might win the Mountains jersey is hard. It's easier to tell who will win the Yellow jersey.

"I can imagine Armstrong, of course, and Ivan Basso, as well as Iban Mayo who will come back very strong to make up for this year's disappointment."

How do you feel coming here to the Tour presentation and not participating next year? "It is a different feeling, but I still am a professional now until the end of the year. But once I will have really quit the job next year, I will experience it from a different angle. So that will be interesting too, as it' completely new to me."