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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Jose Azevedo
AZEVEDO FACTFILE
Joze Azevedo
DOB: 19/09/73
Nationality: Portuguese
Team:
Best Tour: 2002 - sixth overall
ONCE team boss Manolo Saiz is increasingly determined to ensure his Spanish team can end the reign of Lance Armstrong.

And Azevedo is seen as a key cog in that quest.

The leading Portuguese rider in world cycling lost out only 15 minutes to Armstrong come the finish on the Champs Elysees.

His sixth place overall was proof of how he impressed as understudy to both Joseba Beloki and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.

Again he will play second fiddle to Beloki but Sainz believes the 29-year-old Azevedo could stun the whole of the peloton as well as his team when the race starts.

Azevedo finished in the top 20 in both time trials at last year's Tour but knows he must improve to be a realistic podium candidate.

According to Saiz, working against the clock has been a major part of his focus in the off-season.





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