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Tour of Georgia - Phonak Team Profile
By Andy McGrath
Date: 4/18/2006
Tour of Georgia - Phonak Team Profile

Tour of Georgia - Phonak Team Profile
Floyd Landis Tour of California and Paris Nice winner; a capable leader leads a capable Phonak Team.

Phonak Hearing Systems
The Swiss-based Phonak Hearing Systems team, ranked No. 2 overall in 2005 ProTour, features American Floyd Landis as team leader. Landis took 2006 by storm by winning Paris-Nice and the inaugural Tour of California where he won the time trial and never relinquished the California "Golden Fleece" of race leader He finished third overall in the 2005 Tour de Georgia, including a stage win in the individual time trial.

Once tabbed by none other than Lance Armstrong as the kind of rider who could win le Tour; Landis has shown this year as a capable team leader and a return home to the states for the tour of Georgia is one more notch in his program for a serious assault for another major win and sharpening his form to the cutting edge for a power performance in France in July.

Floyd in the Time Trial Tour of California
photo c. Scott Schaffrick and

Clerc, Aurélien (SUI)
Gutierrez, Ignacio (ESP)
Hunter, Robert (RSA)
Landis, Floyd (USA)
Oliveira, Luis (ESP)
Stadler, Florian (SUI)
Tschopp, Johann (SUI)
VIitoria, David (SUI)

Paris Nice winner Floyd Landis  photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

It’s been quite a spring for Floyd Landis. Stage and overall victory at the Tour of California led to a win in the GC at Paris-Nice. The American is convinced that he can peak effectively twice in one year and, in doing so, challenge seriously for the Tour de France. Although one would perhaps not expect the ex-mountain biker to continue his storming spring with yet another high overall finish here, he will, at any rate, be looking to make a good account of himself on home soil and of Phonak in this big event.

Third overall last year, the thirty-year old will be one of the favourites for the 40km time-trial, especially considering that he won against the clock in Rome last year. We’ve been surprised this year by Landis already and, despite his summer ambitions, he will be the Phonak team leader here, and could well surprise us again, improving on his 3rd place in 2005.

Looking past Landis, there are few other general classification possibilities:
Johann Tschopp
is a talented climber, but it’s likely that he will provide mountain support for Landis.
Ignacio Gutierrez
will also serve as a team domestique, though he did recently finish just outside the top twenty in the Tour of the Basque Country.

The team also looks very able for the flatter parts of the race, with Robert Hunter and Aurelien Clerc both likely to feature at the business end of the bunch gallops. Hunter won the first stage (one of four victories in 2005), from Augusta to Macon, in last year’s race, ahead of Ben Brooks (Jelly Belly) and Michele Maccanti (Team LPR). On the other hand, Clerc, tipped as one of the brightest talents in bunch sprinting several years ago, has not won since 2004 and will be gunning for a return to glory in Georgia.

Neo-professional David Vitoria is also a fast finisher, though it’s probable that he’ll work as part of the lead out train for Hunter or Clerc, continuing to learn the ropes. The Phonak roster is completed by two more youngsters: first-year pro Luis Fernandez and Florian Stadler.

2006 Ford Tour of Georgia
 Ford Tour de Georgia 2006--Team Rosters and Profiles
 Tour of Georgia - Saunier Duval/Prodir Team Profile
 Teams Announced for 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia
 Ford Tour de Georgia 2006-Winner's Jerseys
 Discovery Channel Announces Team for California Tour
 Ford Tour de Georgia 2006--A Look at Stage Six
 Ford Tour de Georgia 2006--Stage by Stage Stage 1 & 2
 Ford Tour de Georgia--A Look at the Time Trial
 Ford Tour de Georgia 2006

Related Articles
Paris-Nice 2006 Photo Gallery - Part Two
The Paris-Nice 2006 Final Weekend Photo Gallery
Ford Tour de Georgia--A Look at the Time Trial

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