Discovery Channel Team Report
Bruyneel's reaction to the 2006 Tour de France route announcement and presentation.
got up and left," he said.
"When I think back on all that, it's been the same scenario for them for years. A French rider hasn't won the Tour in 20 years. Why? Simple, they haven't been good enough. And then you see the final ProTour standings and notice there were four Americans in the top 10 (Armstrong, 5th; Levi Leipheimer, 7th; Bobby Julich, 9th; George Hincapie, 10th) and for the French, they had four riders in the top 100 (David Moncoutie, 30th; Anthony Geslin, 62nd; Christophe Moreau, 79th; Laurent Brochard, 84th). That's the facts. It's nothing more than that. I realize it's frustrating for them."
On the '06 route itself, Bruyneel said the biggest change was the exclusion of the team time trial event, won the last three years by an Armstrong led team. "We will probably be the most affected by it since we've won it the last three years," Bruyneel said. "But I've always said that since they applied the new rule to the stage, which I never approved of, it made the stage less interesting when the time losses were capped. It was a very stressful day and almost had no major change to the race. Plus, we've heard that most of the spectators didn't really understand what was going on as well. You either need to have it full on, or not."
Bruyneel added that while the 100+ kilometers of time trials favored a rider like Jan Ullrich, his favorite is still Ivan Basso.
Pinpointing the route's most difficult stretch, Bruyneel said the stages in the Alps, stage 15, 16 and 17, will be extremely hard, especially coming after two plus weeks of racing.
"No other team has sacrificed more for the Tour than us over the last seven years,' Bruyneel said. "We have always put it ahead every other race and have planned our entire season around it. Even without Lance, that won't change."
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