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Tour de France - Phonak AnnouncesTeam
By Cathy Mehl
Date: 6/18/2006
Tour de France - Phonak AnnouncesTeam

Phonak presents the Tour de France team

Phonak Cycling's Tour de France team is impressive in terms of its experience: It has competed a total of 32 times at the Tour de France. Among the riders from nine different countries there is also a Swiss rider, Alexandre Moos.

Spain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, South Africa, Switzerland, Colombia and the US: The nine Phonak riders on the Tour de France team hail from nine different countries. Miguel Angel Perdiguero and Axel Merckx will support Floyd Landis as "Captain du Route". Floyd Landis can also count on six other strong teammates: Bert Grabsch, Koos Moerenhout, Nicolas Jalabert, Robert Hunter, and strong climbers Alexandre Moos and Victor Hugo Peņa.

Team has enormous experience
"It was important to find a good balance between good climbers and pacesetters," said Team Manager John Lelangue explaining his main focus when selecting the Tour de France team. An important point was also experience. As a result, the nine riders have competed a total of 32 times at the Tour de France. The most experienced among them is 33-year old Frenchman Nicolas Jalabert, who competed in his first Tour de France in 1997. When he starts the "Grande Boucle" in Strasbourg on 1 July, it will be his eighth Tour appearance. Axel Merckx will be competing for the seventh time.

A Swiss rider on the team
A Swiss rider, Alexandre Moos, has also been named to the Tour de France team. The rider from Wallis has distinguished himself this year in particular by serving as an important support rider and a strong climber in the mountains. This year will be the 33-year-old's second time to compete in the Tour, after having competed in 2005. Spanish rider Miguel Angel Perdiguero will be competing in the Tour de France for the first time.

Hunter is ready to ride again
Robert Hunter's nomination was unclear for quite some time. His crash a month ago at the Volta a Catalunya seemed to signal the end to his Tour de France plans. The South African had to undergo an operation on his shoulder. He was lucky that his hand injury turned out not to involve any broken bones. In the meantime, Robert Hunter is free of pain. There should be nothing else standing in the way of his competing at the Tour de France. His speedy recovery surprised even team physician Denise Demir: "Robert Hunter has shown what's possible with enormous willpower."

Investing everything in victory
The riders have been training specifically for the Tour de France, they have competed in several different races with Floyd Landis and therefore they know the work they will have to do during the three weeks of the Tour de France. The schedule is right on track, everything has been well planned for the Tour de France, the riders are in good shape, and they have the best materials. "So now we can start the Tour de France focusing exclusively on the race itself. That is the most important thing," says John Lelangue, who is confident in terms of the season highlight. The Phonak Cycling Team's goals are no secret. As leader Floyd Landis puts it: "We want to win the Tour. That has to be the goal. We will do everything we can to reach that goal."

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