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|August 26, 2000||
Ulrich to use Tour of Spain as Olympic tuneup
"In reality I'm going to ride the Vuelta without thinking about the overall result," he said. "I'm going to use it as training for Sydney. My objective there is the individual time trial."
Ullrich, number one in the UCI rankings after winning the Copa Agostina and finishing second in the Zurich World Cup race during August, is widely tipped for a repeat win.
"I think that my preparation for the Vuelta has been perfect. The route is ideal, because the stages are short and I will not have to be in the saddle for six or seven hours at a time," he said.
The Telekom rider was beaten into second place in July's Tour de France by American Lance Armstrong and views his old adversary as his main rival for gold in Sydney.
"For me once again, the challenge is to beat Armstrong," Ullrich said.
One rider who reckons Ullrich can be headed in the three-week tour is last year's runner-up Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.
"Ullrich is beatable, although he is in great shape and is one of the best big tour riders. "
The Spaniard, who did not contest the Giro d'Italia or the Tour de France, believes he can go one better this year.
"Last year, I arrived with the idea of having a good tour, nothing more. But that state of mind is no longer sufficient. Now I have to think of winning it."
Crucial to the outcome will be how much of an advantage Ullrich can establish in the individual time trials, the first of which is the 13.3 km prologue on Saturday.
Certainly, the weight of expectation does not appear to be bothering the German who looks leaner and more relaxed than at any other time this year.
"I finished the Tour (de France) so well that now when I'm riding I'm really enjoying it," he said.
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