Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong says the German, Jan Ullrich, will probably succeed him as winner of the world's premier cycling event. But the retired champion says, don't count out his former teammates on the Discovery cycling team.
Armstrong says Ullrich is the man to beat in this year's Tour de France.
"This is a guy that's clearly got a new motivation and a new perspective on his sport," said Mr. Armstrong. "The course suits him, a lot of time trials, not particularly hard in the mountains. I think he wins."
Armstrong helped introduce the lineup for the Discovery team in Los Angeles Tuesday, and team sports director Johan Bruyneel spoke of upcoming races. They include the Tour of Italy, Tour of Spain, and new Tour of California, an eight-day race that will start in San Francisco February 19.
But Bruyneel says the team will not give up on the Tour de France, which gets under way in Strasbourg July 1. Admitting that his team is an underdog, he says strong cyclists, who include George Hincapie, could lead the Discovery team to another win.
Lance Armstrong says he remains deeply involved with his former team, but has no plans to return to competitive cycling. A cancer survivor, he devotes much of his time to a non-profit foundation that helps cancer patients.