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Alexander Vinokourov's Press Conference
By Staff
Date: 4/21/2006
Alexander Vinokourov's Press Conference

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.

Liberty Seguros-Würth
Reconnoitered the  last 100 kilometres of Liège-Bastogne-Liège
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 this morning.
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

Press Conference: Alexandre Vinokourov,
“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 anything recently?
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 Tour too.

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 the Tour.

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. 

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