Alexander Vinokourov's Press conference
Team Liberty Seguros/Wurth tested the last 100 kms of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège
parcours today. A press conference followed with team leader Alexandre
Vinokourov. Interview and photos.
By Bart Hazen
After a 100 km ride of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège
parcours in preparation for Sunday's La Doyenne. Both Vino and Saiz were
confident about the upcoming 2006 Tour de France.
A friendly, fit and relaxed Vinokourov took time to open up with the press to
answer questions regarding his preparation and view of le Tour today. He was
also cooperative with the paparazzi to make himself available for photos as you
can see in the following photos.
Reconnoitered the last 100 kilometres of
The Liberty Seguros-Würth team that will dispute Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège,
rode last 100 kilometres of the parcours in preparation for the race on Sunday
Marino Lejarreta and Gabino Ereñozaga followed Alberto Contador, David
Etxebarria, Jörg Jaksche, Marcos Serrano, Ángel Vicioso and Jose Antonio Redondo
in a car.
Vino returns from his ride. photo c. Bart Hazen
Andrey Kashechkin, who already knows the parcours; having lived in the
surroundings of Liège (in Visé) for four years, joined the team at the hotel
last night and Alexander Vinokourov, tested last 100 kilometres alone
accompanied in a car by Manolo Saiz.
Vino and Manolo Sainz photo c. Bart Hazen
“I come to Liège without pressure, I'm focused 100 % for the Tour of France”
Are you competitive for Liège-Bastogne-Liège?
Yes, I believe that I am in good condition, though my goal is 100 % is the Tour
of France. I came to start living the ambiance and besides, we have a good team
for these races.
A calm and confident Alexandre Vinokourov
photo c. Bart Hazen
With Basso in the Giro before the Tour and without Armstrong, is this year
your opportunity to win the Tour?
In 2005 I said that I was giving myself two years to try to win the Tour. Young
riders come strongly and I am 33 years old, but also I am very motivated
and work at 100 % for this race.
What do you thinks of Basso's selection and of that Ullrich is not riding
Jan always has problems to come in shape, but also is very motivated. And about
Basso, his plan is to try to win both. It's his choice.
Vino relaxes after the ride in the sun. photo c. Bart Hazen
Is it better to prepare for the Tour training that competing?
With Manolo Saiz we have decided to reduce the number of races and to change the
preparation and I believe that all this work will be seen in July. In 2003 I won
many races, but at the end of the Tour I finished tired. The change of program
is good. I will ride 20 days before the Tour instead 55 on past years.
Don't you believe that you have been too much time in T-Mobile?
I don't know. In 2002 Ullrich went away to the Bianchi and I had two more years
of contract, but then he returned. It is difficult to say, but I do not regret
anything, because in 2004 I could not ride le Tour, and in 2005 I did a good
Alexandre Vinokourov photo c. Bart Hazen
Is it a risk to think only about the Tour?
No, I have confidence in myself. I am working seriously to win the biggest race
of the world and it is necessary to ride strong.
Are you going to pre ride the stages of the Tour?
Yes, I want to see all those of Pyrenees and Alps.
Without Armstrong will change your cycling tactic?
I do not know. If there is an occasion to attack, I will do it, but not like
last year; because then I was seeking to destabilize the Discovery Team.
Which is your difference opposite to Ullrich and Basso?
Maybe my character. Because of it I have concentrated my efforts at 100 % for
Do you see possibilities in Valverde?
It's difficult to say. He has improved very much, last year he showed that he
can win in the mountain, but this year I do not believe that he can win the
race; he may be able to finish in the top five.