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
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
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.
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.
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
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)