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July 18, 2003

Yahoo! Sports | Armstrong says Ullrich now Tour favourite

"He's the Tour favourite," said the American, who is bidding for a record-equalling fifth Tour victory on July 27 in Paris.

"I've said it many times before that Jan was my leading rival and I'm saying it again," he added after the 12th stage time trial from Gaillac to the Cap Decouverte theme park.

But Armstrong, who is suffering as never before in this Tour as he is faced by only average form and suffocating heat, made it clear he would not surrender without a fight.

Though Ullrich will now be the favourite for next week's 49 km time trial from Pornic to Nantes, Armstrong said: "Jan had a super day, but if you look at the past, he has very rarely beaten me in a time trial. I'm still as confident with the final time trial.

The Reuters report also says Armstrong, who has traditionally excelled in miserable weather conditions, "rejoiced at news that weather forecasts for the grueling stages ahead in the Pyrenees were bad."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2003 | Permalink