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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Ullrich aims to topple Armstrong
Jan Ullrich
Ullrich says his preparations are going well
Germany's Jan Ullrich has insisted his Team Telekom are solely focused on beating US Postal's six-times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

"I'm going to fight like a lion," said the 31-year-old Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997.

"I want to beat the best of the best. Our priority is to win the Tour."

"I feel much better than I did a year ago. I feel like I'm running at about 90 to 95% right now and don't feel like I'm out of power."

Ullrich, who could manage only a disappointing fourth place last year, added: "My condition is improving. It's a good sign. The decisive thing this time is that I haven't got ill."

The Tour de France starts on 2 July and ends on 24 July on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Armstrong is aiming to extend his record-breaking run of successive victories to seven in his last Tour.

Telekom wants the yellow jersey so badly the team has dropped sprinter Erik Zabel, who had collected 11 stage victories in the last 11 Tours and won the green jersey six times.

"The most coveted jersey is yellow," said Telekom team boss Olaf Ludwig.

This time we've got people who can pull through - our team is very, very good
Jan Ullrich

"We've got three riders who've already been on the podium in Paris. Winning the Tour is our clear aim this year."

Ullrich added: "The decision wasn't easy for me, or Erik or the team.

"Erik would have deserved a spot on the team but if you've got the chance to win the Tour, you've got to go all out for that.

"I feel honoured the team is tailored to me."

Supporting Ullrich will be Germany's Andreas Kloeden, who finished second to Armstrong last year, and Alexander Vinokourov of Kazahkstan.

Both Kloeden and Vinokourov are charged with helping Ullrich put pressure on Armstrong.

Also on the team are Oscar Sevilla of Spain, Giuseppe Guerini and Daniele Nardello of Italy as well as Matthias Kessler, Tobias Steinhauser and Stefan Schreck of Germany.

"I reckon we have a good chance," Ullrich added. "This time we've got people who can pull through. Our team is very, very good."


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