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July 14, 2005

Beltran drops out after crash

Beltran's bell rung
Beltran's bell rung
AP/ESPN
Discovery Channel's Manuel Beltran has abandoned the Tour on the road during Stage 13. He injured his knee in a crash suffered on the day's first climb. Update: Over at ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.), they say Beltran actually blacked out after falling on his head. Also, ESPN has a shot (at right) of Beltran getting checked out. As always, click through to the full-size image, in this case at ESPN's awesome cycling photo wire.

He's the first Discovery Channel/US Postal rider to drop out of the race since 2001! That's a pretty remarkable string.

Update: In this rec.bicycles.racing thread , someone says it was Oscar Sevilla of Phonak who overlapped wheels with Beltran.

Also dropping out on the road this morning have been Nicolas Fritsch of Saunier Duval-Prodir, Robbie Hunter of Phonak, and Angelo Furlan of Domina Vacanze.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2005 in Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink

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Comments

How long is the whole 2005 tour in kilometers?

Posted by: david at Jul 14, 2005 1:17:29 PM

The absence of Beltran is is going to matter when the race heats up on Saturday and Sunday (maybe Tuesday as well).

Saturday is going to be interesting. It looks like a stage that Lance can win with two hills back-to-back at the finish. Discovery will be key on this stage. The big deal is whether any of the challengers can put pressure on Discovery and make them work hard EARLY. This is crucial if any challenger hopes to win. If Team Discovery can be fatigued on Saturday then the absence of Beltran may be crucial for the next day. Sunday has multiple category one climbs (three in a row prior to a mountain that is beyond category 1). If so, then the challenges must start on the 2nd (maybe) but definitely the 3rd mountain like Vino did. Lance must be forced to race before the final mountain and be isolated for the entire final climb.

Lance will not be beaten on single climb, it must be multiple. The series of category one climbs may be the place for Vino, Ullrich, or Rasmussen to emerge. This is a place where the climbers and real strong men may come to shine. The question is whether this will remove the large gaps that exist or not. The Tour will shape up on this stage. Lance wins it outright today or he will find a big nasty surprise waiting for him.

The yellow jersey rides on it.

Posted by: Eric at Jul 14, 2005 6:05:24 PM

Tough to see Tricky's tour end that way - hope he's going to be OK. However, Discovery is arguably still the strongest climbing team even without Beltran, what with Big George Hincapie having turned himself into a world-class climber over the years and new addition Salvodelli being no slouch in the mountains himself. Despite Vinokourov's awesome display yesterday, I think the big threat in the Pyrenees is going to be Rasmussen - let's face it, Vino gave everything he had, rode the stage of his life, and at the end Discovery limited his gains to just over a minute without having to expend any extraordinary effort - just steady pressure, keeping the pace high enough to keep anyone else from getting any cute ideas. And they still have over 4 minutes on each of the 3 big T-Mobile riders. It'll be interesting to see what strategy they'll use to try to keep the reins on Rasmussen during stages 14 and 15, though.

Posted by: EWM at Jul 14, 2005 6:31:22 PM

head injuries involving blacking out and memory loss are very scary----i hope amidst all the speculation about what Beltran's loss means to lance and the team, i hope TdF fans will take a minute out to think a positive thought/say a prayer for Manuel.

Posted by: carol winitsky at Jul 14, 2005 7:17:35 PM

It goes without saying that no one wishes ill on a rider and that we hope Beltran recovers quickly. In that respect, the return of Beloki to the Tour must be noted after his dreadful crash.

I agree that the Telekom riders are doubtful at the end of the day and that Rasmussen looks to be a real threat. He probably needs a minute or more advantage to win after Sunday. Providing he didn't use all his energy during his solo ride and followed by a sprint finish on another mountain stage then he looks really good for the stage.

However, if Ullrich is healthy and he is willing to gamble like Vino then he may be strong enough to make things at least interesting on Sunday. Ordinarily, I would say 4 minutes is insurmountable. Providing you can isolate Armstrong before the final climb, I'm not so certain. This really looks to be the one stage where the organizers tried to ensure that Lance would have to face his rivals alone.

For me, this stage is all about just how strong Discovery is and whether they can be helping Lance on the final climb. I'm hoping they are not. I want to see Armstrong be forced to race for the Yellow into the last week of the Tour. The tour is not improved by a cakewalk.

Having said that, are there any more pretenders that may emerge Saturday and Sunday? Guesses anyone...

Posted by: Eric at Jul 15, 2005 9:03:26 AM

I THINK DISCOVERY LEAVES ALL BUT THE STRONGEST RIDERS EATING DUST ON THE FIRST MAJOR CLIMB ON SATURDAY, THEN LANCE FINISHES THE JOB BY WINNING THE STAGE ON THE MOUNTAINTOP FINISH. SUNDAY WILL BE A MATTER OF STAYING WITH ANY SUPRISE ATTACKS BY TMOBILE. I THINK ONLY RASSMUSSEN HAS A REALISTIC CHANCE BUT UNLESS HE HAS A BIG LEAD AFTER SUNDAY LANCE WILL TAKE HIM IN THE TIME TRIAL.

Posted by: Alan at Jul 15, 2005 2:31:00 PM

Today shows that Lance is the man, whether or not he has an escort up the hills.

Posted by: Devans at Jul 16, 2005 10:39:11 AM