March 02, 2004
Next up: Tour of Murcia
VeloNews handicaps the Tour of Murcia, running tomorrow through Sunday. Both Ullrich and Armstrong downplay the race, which both are using to intensify their training base.
Despite the two stars' protests to the contrary, Thursday's 21.3km time trial could provide a clue to this year's Tour. Armstrong won the time trial in his first race of the year in the Tour of Algarve testing a new time trial position in Portugal last month and the race against the clock is vital to his hopes of a sixth Tour.
Ullrich took more than 1:30 from Armstrong in a 47km time trial in last year's Tour but lost in a dramatic climb to Luz Ardiden when the American survived a crash to win which effectively settled the outcome.
And what about the final ITT, where Armstrong was racing Ullrich dead even until Jan overcooked a wet corner, letting Armstrong ease up with the Tour in his jersey pocket?
The Daily Peloton also has a good preview with all the details of who will represent each team and the stage profiles. DP notes:
Meanwhile fans of Beloki must be getting a little worried. Tendonitis has ruled out the early part of his season and he is not named (as yet) in the starting line up for ANY race so far.
Tour contenders on hand: Armstrong, Ullrich, Iban Mayo, Haimar Zubeldia.
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