On Friday the Phonak team held a press conference in the Tour de France media centre in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Liege. Team leader Tyler Hamilton was on hand to answer questions posed by the international press.
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Tyler told the press that he has been able to prepare himself for the Tour exactly as he had imagined. ?The results also confirm this,? said
Tyler, and continued ?We started the season with the goal of doing everything so that we would be in top form for the Tour. The results from the Tour de Romandie, the Alps Classic or the Dauphin? show that we are right on course.?
Hamilton was asked if he feels that he is ready for this year?s Tour and answered ?I feel stronger than last year.?
Tyler is very happy to be part of the Phonak team and told Danish television TV2 that he almost feels that he is part of the management behind the team. The team has been very supportive and willing to listen to his suggestions for changes and improvements.
Hamilton was part of Danish Team CSC, where he rode as one of the team leaders in the Tour de France. Choosing to ride with more than one team leader caused some controversy when
Tyler apparently felt that he didn?t receive the support he expected in one of the hardest mountain stages of the Tour. This year
Tyler is the only leader in the Phonak Tour de France team and can therefore reply on the whole team to support him and only him when and as needed. Choosing to ride with only one team leader is bound to have a positive effect on emphatic and thoughtful riders like Tyler Hamilton.
In the 2004 Tour de France,
Hamilton will be backed by eight powerful team mates who have all proven very strong during the spring of 2004 by winning many important races. The eight riders are Oscar Sevilla (ESP), Santi Perez (ESP), Jos? Gutierrez (ESP), Oscar Pereiro (ESP), Santos Gonzalez (ESP), Bert Grabsch (DE), Nicolas Jalabert (FRA) and Martin Elmiger (SUI).
Hamilton believes that he has the best team that one can imagine. ?Eight top motivated and strong riders that want to and will support me during the Tour. The support staff is also the tops -- I?m convinced that we?re well prepared.?
A smiling Phonak team presented itself to the press in
Liege on Friday, July 1st.
Not only are the riders in top form. The team will be riding the newest bikes from team sponsor BMC bikes. For a closer look at
Tyler?s new BMC time trial bike, see our First look at Tyler Hamilton?s Time Trial Bike .
For more Tour info, check out Roadcycling.com's Tour de France section .
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