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July 26, 2005

Vinokourov to Liberty Seguros

BBC SPORT | Vinokourov joins Liberty Seguros

Alexandre Vinokourov, whose aggressive riding animated the 2005 Tour, will join Manolo Saiz' Liberty Seguros squad.

The team's previous Tour leader, Roberto Heras, had a disappointing Tour in 45th, and Saiz said publicly during the Tour that Heras would ride the Giro and not lead the team's Tour squad next season.

Vinokourov will bring along a fellow Kazakh, Sergey Yakovlev, from T-Mobile.

Said Vino:

"They have the best riders in the mountains and are among the best in the team time trials. It was almost a natural choice," he said of Liberty Seguros.

"We have discussed my programme for 2006 - I've had the guarantee I will be able to fully focus on the Tour de France."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Manolo Saiz, Roberto Heras, Top Stories | Permalink


Sounds like a good fit for Vino - he finally gets to be undisputed team leader, he can help the rest of the Liberty squad how to better ride a time trial (although they were no slouches in the TTT this year by any means), and the climbers on LSW can help him improve his pacing on the big-climbing stages. IMO he'll definitely be on the podium next year (barring accident or injury), the interesting question is of course in which precise spot.

Posted by: EWM at Jul 26, 2005 2:41:29 PM

I was hoping he'd go with Discovery Channel as rumored. He will be a very strong contender. I feel bad for Roberto but results are what count.

Posted by: Bill Hue at Jul 27, 2005 9:39:35 AM

Everybody loves Vino, but maybe Discovery saw him as too strong a personality for the team. What a fantastic rider, for sure. Along with the other Kazakhs, perhaps these are the best guys to put on Manny Saiz's team. They won't understand a frickin' word the guy says when he shouts at them into their earpiece.

Am I alone here on this?...he's practically the only guy in the peloton with a normal physique. There's finally hope for us squat, stocky dudes of the world. It's getting increasingly difficult to identify with those long, pencil thin arms and legs of most of the riders. Um, not that I'm looking or anything...

Posted by: Slow Freddie at Jul 27, 2005 12:37:51 PM

Freddie, I think you've been looking at too many spanish climbing specialists - most of the sprinters are pretty burly dudes, albeit not in the grossly-overfed way of U.S. Football players. ;)

Vino has always struck me as on the beefy side for someone that's an all-rounder with climbing ability (when he's pacing himself and not launching a bazillion suicide attacks per stage, that is). I've always thought that if he followed LA's training model and lost a few pounds while trying to maintain his power output he would dramatically improve his ability to climb (especially for days at a time - we've all seen that on any given single day he can climb his butt off) and thus fix the only chink in his armor.

With fellow Kazakh Kashechkin now also joining him on LSW he's going to feel right at home - that'll be an interesting mix on that team. My only nagging question is how Heras is going to fit in. It sounds to me like Saiz is basically relegating Heras to the role of old hand who is there mainly fir his experience and to help bring the young guys along, although Saiz was diplomatic enough to make it sound more like a "co-leader" role - the latter of course doesn't jibe with what Vino is expecting. Anybody else care to give their take on this?

Posted by: EWM at Jul 27, 2005 2:01:08 PM

I think Roberto has to see the writing on the wall. They didn't bring these 3 guys on board to help Roberto, they brought them to make Vino a Tour de France winner.
I wonder, also, why Michael Rogers would sign with T-Mobile. Thats a place guys like him go to burn off about three years of their career while everyone on the team fawns over Ullrich.

Posted by: Bill Hue at Jul 27, 2005 2:26:52 PM

Rumor has it Ullrich, the "Sausage", is going to Discovery. I had hopes that the Flying Forehead would also make the move to Discovery and to Austin Texas. But we can't have it all, can we?

Posted by: Paul Terry Walhus at Jul 28, 2005 3:23:54 PM

Here's the source of the above mentioned rumor, wannabe bike girl Sarah:

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
ullrich and discovery

A friend of mine who lives in Germany messaged me this morning (my time) and asked if I'd heard about Ullrich. I hadn't, so she told me. It seems that Armstrong has been trying to get Ullrich to join Discovery. German news reported that Ullrich was leaving T-Mobile for Discovery. (It's in German, but you can use http://world.altavista.com to translate it like I did.)

Ullrich is under contract through 2006 with T-Mobile, so if that rumor is true, then he'd be breaking it. But the same site then ran an interview with Ullrich (again in German) where he pretty much says he won't break his contract, but after that? Who knows.

I'm not sure what I think. Strategically, it makes sense. Who wouldn't want Ullrich on a winning team (aside from T-Mobile and some German fans). I think that if he doesn't win in '06, perhaps he will go to Discovery. Over course this could all be misdirection while they work out a deal for Ullrich to leave T-Mobile and go to Discovery.

I don't like it, but it makes sense.

Posted by: Paul Terry Walhus at Jul 28, 2005 3:26:10 PM

I've seen that rumor, but I don't believe it. T-Mobile spent a lot of money to get Ullrich, and they don't have anybody else who is capable of winning the Tour.

Why would a German team with a German Tour contender under contract let him go?

Posted by: Frank at Jul 28, 2005 3:43:02 PM

I doubt Ulrich is going to Discovery, but one thing is for sure, Vino is a bad ass. He reminds me of a Pit Bull on a bike. It seems like he only has one thing on his mind when he is on the bike, winning.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 28, 2005 10:08:41 PM

Ullrich with Discovery. Mere thought of Ullrich and his big gears Discovery is preposterous. Heck, may as well bring Richard Virenque.

Posted by: Ron Wright at Jul 29, 2005 12:01:28 AM

If the French media and the Tour Officals pull this merd they'll never see another American tourist on French soil.

Posted by: Gnossos Papadopoulis at Aug 25, 2005 2:42:37 AM

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