Johan Bruyneel Interview
The US Postal team of Johan Bruyneel begin their season on Friday, January 24 in California with the first training camp of the year. Velo Club du Net spoke to Johan regarding the training camp, Ullrich, Armstong and Boonen. Speaking from the wheel of his car, Bruyneel was as always clear and concise on his thoughts on the matter. In part one we hear what he has to say about Jan Ullrich, his decision to join Team Coast and his comments that he had an offer to ride for US Postal.
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Velo Club du Net - Johan Bruyneel hello. Your first training camp starts soon. With Floyd Landis?
Johan Bruyneel - Indeed, I leave tomorrow for California! Floyd will not be there, he is currently still under medical examination. We will know more about his availability next Friday. But he will be there for the last day of the official photographs.
Velo Club du Net - Jan Ullrich talking yesterday to a German newspaper said that you had offered him the chance to become a team-member with Armstrong...
Johan Bruyneel - It is ridiculous! Jan Ullrich is expensive, and our budget has been finalised for a long time. We would not be able to do that, even if Jan Ullrich is a very good rider! When one hears about the amount of his wages it would be far too much for us anyway.
Velo Club du Net - What did you think about Jan Ullrichís choice? (To join Team Coast)
Johan Bruyneel - (long pause) Let's say he made the choice which seemed to him to be the best, I do not want to criticize... But well, I am not convinced either that it is the best team... I do not know what is true or not, but there are nevertheless many rumours concerning Team Coast. Financially they seem to have many problems. To make a come-back, and considering his situation, it would have to be in a perfect environment, and I doubt that it is the case with this team. But good, he has surely got his reasons... the coming year will prove whether he has made the right choice. Team Coast is 5th in the UCI Team Classification so obviously they have riden well last season, but when there are such rumours around a team... it is really not good.
Velo Club du Net - Lance Armstrong said that Jan Ullrich had made a financial choice rather than a sporting one...
Johan Bruyneel - Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I also think that the team of Bjarne Riis (CSC) would have been the best choice for Jan Ullrich. They have a director whom I know very well, and...
Velo Club du Net - Yes, but you also know Rudy Pevenage very well too!
Johan Bruyneel - Thatís so, but when you start with a new team with 5 or 6 Directeur Sportifs... how shall I say this...maybe you cant see the wood for the trees! (sic)
Velo Club du Net - Jan Ullrich says that he does not feel ready to face Lance Armstrong in 2003, and that he will prefer to concentrate on the Vuelta. What do you think about it?
Johan Bruyneel - I think it is a rather cautious forecast by Ullrich. I think he is correct to be cautious but I am sure if he thought that the form was there he would start the Tour. We will see how he gets on in the first few months of racing, but it is true that he has not ridden competively for 1 year and not to forget that he has had two knee operations which take time to recover from too. It is a rather careful forecast, he prefers to look further ahead and is surely right not to try and force things.
Velo Club du Net - What does Roberto Heras think about it, your usual leader for the Vuelta?
Johan Bruyneel - I havenít spoken with Roberto yet, but the Vuelta is still a long way off!
Velo Club du Net - is Jan Ullrich likely to be an even bigger adversary for Heras than Gonzalez or Casero?
Johan Bruyneel - If Ullrich rides the Vuelta, he will be one of the favourites! But, of course you cannot discount the usual suspects.
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