June 07, 2005
Vinokourov shooting for Tour win, but when?
T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov told Agence France Presse that the rest of his career will be focused on winning a Tour de France:
"I've maybe still got two or three years left in the peloton but in that time I'll be basing everything on winning the Tour," said Vinokourov, also a two-time winner of Paris-Nice. "I've won other races, but now the Tour's the only thing I'm really interested in."
The knock on T-Mobile has always been that, like the New York Yankees, they have too many prima donnas to work together as a team, and you've got to think this may not be the unquestioning declaration of team loyalty Jan Ullrich is looking for with the 2005 Tour de France less than a month away.
Ullrich was 2nd at Sunday's GP Aargau, and is headed for the Tour de Suisse, starting Saturday.
The Kazakh says he's ready to ride for Ullrich -- if Ullrich shows up ready to win.
If not, he hopes the virtual favor will be returned. There is also the factor of their other teammate Andreas Klöden, who finished second on the Tour last year, but is said to be chasing his form after a mediocre start to the season.
"The race will decide what happens," added Vinokourov. "But the most important thing for us is that one of us wins. To come second, third or fourth will not be considered a good result for T-Mobile. It's Armstrong's final season (race), and we'll do everything we can to beat him. If he turns out to be unbeatable again, hats off to him. But we'll see whose wearing the jersey into Paris."
At the Dauphiné Libéré today, Vinokourov spent about 20 minutes in an all-star breakaway with Yaroslav Popovych and Jose Azevedo of Discovery: three guys who could contend in the Tour after Lance Armstrong retires.
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