Bruyneel: Jan is main threat

Lance Armstrong will still be viewing Jan Ullrich as his main rival going into the Tour says US Post

Lance Armstrong will still be viewing Jan Ullrich as his main rival going into the Tour says US Post
US Postal directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel has told Spanish newspaper Marca that T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich is "the most dangerous" obstacle in Lance Armstrong's path as the American pursues a sixth Tour de France, in July. Ullrich, of course, recently won the Tour of Switzerland, with impeccable good timing, and has once again remarkably - after a troubled spring - found his form at just the right time. Armstrong in contrast, seemed well below par during June's earlier stage race Dauphine Libere - although Bruyneel is adamant that the Texan's performance there did not particularly worry him. "Lance has dominated the Dauphin in the past," he told Marca, "but this year we weren't there to do great things, knowing that there were still five weeks to go to the mountain stages of the Tour. This year we approached the season differently because we knew that the Dauphin 2003 was not a great race for us. This time, we were more relaxed." Alongside Ullrich, Bruyneel ranks Iban Mayo, Tyler Hamilton, Roberto Heras, Ivan Basso, and Denis Menchov as major challengers for the Tour's 'maillot jaune.' "Mayo and Hamilton were very strong at the Dauphine," said Bruyneel, "better than Lance, and Euskaltel and Phonak also went very well. We were good, but not as good as them, but in a way that was to be expected as we weren't there to win." But he added, "although we didn't go with the idea of winning, I was a little surprised by how much time Lance lost on the Ventoux. We didn't expect that. It's clear that we have to improve. If they improve too, then we have a problem." "Mayo has taken an important step and is now not just a favourite to win a stage and finish in a good position, as last year, but he's a serious candidate for victory. It's going to be a different race for him."
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