June 08, 2004
Beloki: Asthma meds, exiting team
I was going to ignore the strangeness from Joseba Beloki, but it looks more serious than I thought.
The question as to where he will go or who will have him is the hard one. He was expected, at the conclusion of the Euskal on Sunday, to hold a press conference atop of the final climb of Arrate. But instead of proceeding to the top of the narrow Cat. 1 he climbed into a car and headed home to Vitoria. No press conference, no announcement and no one really expects Beloki to go to France now - it is just a matter of time before the official announcement.
Apparently, Beloki has previously used a medicine for asthma, Pulmicort, that's on the banned-substances list, but allowed under doctor's supervision. The Spanish cycling body and his ONCE team provided the necessary documentation for Beloki to use it, but apparently, his new team doctor, Pierre-Yves Mathé, disagrees:
"There are rules, we can't just do whatever we want," Mathé told commented in a l'Equipe article. "To prescribe this type of product, a certain number of tests have to be performed. After these examinations, it was found that Beloki has a number of allergies, but no recognised case of asthma was confirmed. Therefore there are certain medicines I cannot prescribe."
Brioches la Boulangere is leaving the sport, but as with Johan Bruyneel and USPS, the team director, Jean-René Bernaudeau, believes he'll line up a new sponsor before the end of the season. Beloki, it appears, won't join that squad.
Beloki's problems raise serious doubts about whether he'll be able to race in the Tour de France, less than four weeks away. The Spanish rider is also upset the team is forcing him to race in the Route du Sud and participate in a team training camp in the Alps later this month, MARCA reported.
Beloki and Boulangere team officials met over the weekend to agree on Beloki's departure. The team is losing its title sponsor at the end of the year after Brioches la Boulangère said it could not afford the costs to sponsor the team as part of the new Pro Tour.
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