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Team Phonak for the Tour de France 2005
 
By Staff
Date: 7/1/2005
Team Phonak for the Tour de France 2005
 

By Chris Adamietz

Team Phonak from Switzerland is looking forward to its second Tour de France. Team manager Andy Rihs nominated Spanish riders Oscar Pereiro and Enrique Gutierrez, Alexandro Moos and Steve Zampieri from Switzerland, German Bert Grabsch, Santiago Botero from Colombia, Floyd Landis from the USA and French Nicolas Jalabert who will compete again in his home country. Surprisingly Santos Gonzales is not in the team line-up. But nevertheless the Phonak team will be one of the strongest in the whole Tour peloton.

Riders, Shape and Successes

The Phonak squad will be led by Santiago Botero from Colombia. The 32 year old Botero staged an outstanding comeback this season. After two lost years with Team Telekom/T-Mobile, Botero is back again, stronger than ever before. This season, Botero won the Tour de Romandie, including a victory in the time trial, and finished 12th in the Volta a Catalunya. Just a few days ago, the former time-trial World Champion showed his great shape again, finishing 2nd in the Dauphiné Liberé including two stage victories (time trial and mountain stage). In this shape and with his improvement in the mountains, Botero is a candidate for a top 10 overall position.

Second candidate for a top ten overall position in the Phonak line-up is Floyd Landis. The 29 year old rider from the United States of America signed with Phonak this winter after being one of Armstrong’s main helpers in last years Tour de France. The stage-races specialist has had a good season so far including a 3rd place overall in the Tour of Georgia. In this stage-race he could win the time-trial. Furthermore Landis showed his good shape in the Dauphiné Liberé where he finished 11th overall including a strong time-trial and prologue.

Third strong rider in the line-up is Oscar Pereiro from Spain. The 27 year old Pereiro will compete in his second Tour de France. Last year, Pereiro was the best rider of his team finishing, 10th overall. This year he will be the main helper for Landis and Botero in the mountains. Pereiro is an outstanding time-trialist, so he will be very important for the team time trial. This season, Pereiro won the Prologue of the Tour de Romandie where he could finish 7th overall. Furthermore he was 6th overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and 9th overall in Paris – Nice. In his last race before the Tour de France, the Dauphiné Liberé, he finished 21st overall, showing a good shape for the Grand Boucle.

Another mountain specialist in the Team is Alexandre Moos from Switzerland. The 32 year old Moos has had a good season so far, winning the GP Gippingen and finishing 6th overall in the Tour de Romandie. His last race before the Tour de France was the Tour de Suisse where he finished 11th in the overall ranking. Furthermore he finished 2nd in the Swiss road Championships.

Second Suisse rider in the Phonak line-up is Steve Zampieri. The 28 year old Zampieri was nominated instead of Santos Gonzales. Zampieri, who likes the mountains, has already competed in this years Giro D’Italia finishing 30th overall. He also finished 9th in the GP Gippingen.

An important rider for the team time trial is Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna. The 31 year old time trial specialist from Spain has not had a very good season so far, but he seems to be in a good shape in time, finishing 29th overall in the Dauphiné Liberé. He was also part of the line-up which finished 2nd in the Team Time Trial in Eindhoven.

Bert Grabsch from Germany is also a good time trialist. The 30 year old Grabsch competes in his second Tour de France. He will be very important for the team time trial and for the flat stages. In this season, he showed is great potential in the spring classics, finishing 25th in the Tour of Flanders and 38th in Paris – Roubaix. His last races before the Tour de France were the Dauphiné Liberé where he did well; despite not finishing this stage race and the Team Time Trial in Eindhoven where the Phonak squad finished 2nd.

The only French rider in Phonak`s team line-up is Nicolas Jalabert. The younger brother of Laurent Jalabert is another important rider for the team time trial. Furthermore he will have to work a lot on the flat stages, protecting his team leaders but he will also be part of breakaway groups. 2005 has been an average season for Jalabert so far. His best result was a 5th place in a stage of Paris – Nice but we can be sure that the 33 year old Frenchman will do well in his home country.

Robert Hunter from the Republic of South Africa is Phonak’s man for the bunch sprints. The 28 year old Hunter has had a good season so far including stage victories in the Tour Mediteraneen, Tour of Georgia and Setmana Catalana. Furthermore he was successful in the GP Doha International. Besides his qualities in bunch sprints, Hunter is a tolerable time trialist, but his main goal will be a stage victory in a bunch sprint.

Chances of Success

The Phonak team is represented by a very strong squad. They are one of the favourites for the team time trial and with Floyd Landis, Santiago Botero and Oscar Pereiro, they have three riders who can reach a place in the top 10 in the overall rankings and win a mountain or time trial stage. Furthermore, Robert Hunter is able to reach the podium in the bunch sprints.

Lineup

Oscar Pereiro (Spa)
Steve Zampieri (Swi)
Alexandre Moos (Swi)
Nicolas Jalabert (Fra)
Bert Grabsch (Ger)
Robert Hunter (RSA)
Floyd Landis (USA)
Santiago Botero (Col)
Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa)

 
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