Germany's Jan Ullrich has rubbished claims from Lance Armstrong that he does not train hard enough to win the Tour de France.
Ullrich (right) has been consistently beaten by Armstrong
"Lance does not know me at all," said the 30-year-old Ullrich, a five-time Tour runner-up.
"This comment is probably due to his American mentality. He has no idea how hard I train."
The 1997 Tour champion added: "I am ambitious and devoted otherwise I would not have reached the top."
Ullrich, the Olympic road race champion in 2000, is hungry to finally beat his American nemesis in cycling's prestige event.
The German has finished second to Armstrong - the record six-time Tour de France winner - three times.
"I am not going to say I will win the Tour but that target still
keeps me going," said Ullrich. "I want to beat the best in the
world at the biggest races."
Armstrong has yet to commit to riding the race in 2005, but Ullrich said: "I believe Lance will be there at the start line."
Earlier this month, Ullrich claimed he did not care whether or not Armstrong rides in next year's Tour.
"It's all the same to me whether Armstrong comes or not," he said.
"If you want to win you have to ride faster than the rest."