July 01, 2006

Why the 9 riders were suspended

procycling | What the Puerto dossier revealed

What made T-Mobile so quickly sever its relationship with Jan Ullrich? What's been shown to teams so far is the 38-page summary of the 500-page Spanish Civil Guard report, and it turns out that Spanish Civil Guard authorities had phone and SMS records that appear to show a chain of communications between someone calling himself “Rudicio” and Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

Late on May 17, Fuentes got an SMS message from “Rudicio,” trying to set up a conversation. The next day, around noon, he got a call from the same number, and told the caller he was busy, and could talk that evening. “But there's a time trial,” the dossier quotes the caller as saying. Ullrich's longtime trainer is Rudy Pevenage, and on May 18, Jan Ullrich won the Giro time trial.

Additionally, the codename ‘Jan’ (and I hope we somehow find that these guys weren't so dumb as to think ‘Jan’ is a good codename for someone named, um, ‘Jan’) is 4 times listed in a lab document concerning stored blood, human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor, and testosterone patches.

At Ignacio Labarta's home, police found documents on Francisco Mancebo's annual training regimen, with symbols the police recognized from other lab documents as relating to blood transfusions and medicines, and which the Civil Guard claims identifies Mancebo as client number 17 on the numbered blood bags.

Oscar Sevilla, Santiago Botero, and Jorg Jaksche were allegedly seen arriving with Fuentes and Labarta at an apartment where “four bags of blood were refrigerated.” I don't know if they mean the four bags were found when the raids went down, but I assume that's the implication.

As for Basso, the case against him seems more circumstantial: Investigators claim Labarto referred to him, and José-Enrique Gutierrez, on the phone with Fuentes as Fuentes clients, and the Civil Guard then made the link with the codename “Barrillo,” Basso's dog's name.

Manolo Saiz apparently established the relationship between Roberto Heras and Dr. Fuentes. When he was questioned May 24, Saiz told Spanish officials that Heras insisted on using Fuentes as his team doctor, over the objections of Saiz. That seems a little strange, given that Heras is out of the sport, but Saiz was still involved with Fuentes.

Finally, officials claim they found references to Joseba Beloki in a lab document with notations for HGH, IGF-1, testosterone patches, EPO, anabolic steroids, and blood transfusions.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2006 in Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Joseba Beloki, Manolo Saiz, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 30, 2006

It's official: Vinokourov, Astaná-Wuerth out

www.cyclingnews.com | Tour de France News Flash

Astaná-Würth is out of the Tour. Active Bay, which manages the team, announced the withdrawal this afternoon, when it became apparent they wouldn't have enough riders to take the start tomorrow morning in Strasbourg.

“This measure does not concern the team's riders of the Tour de France that are not included in the dossier: Alexander Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Carlos Barredo and Luis León Sanchez. Nevertheless, the withdrawal of the riders that appear in the above-mentioned dossier implies that the Tour of France team will not have the minimum number of riders demanded by the UCI rules, which means the team will not be able to take the start tomorrow morning in the Tour de France.”

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Doping, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Manolo Saiz, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Another shoe for Astaná: Contador, Davis, Paulinho

Eurosport | UCI add names to official list

So the road for Astaná-Würth just gets steeper. The UCI reported today that in addition to Joseba Beloki, Jorg Jaksche, Isidro Nozal, and Aitor Osa, that Allan Davis, Alberto Contador, and Sergio Paulinho all appear in the Operación Puerto report. Osa is a reserve, and Paulinho isn't on the Tour list, but if the team voluntarily excludes riders listed, and no replacements are allowed, the team would be left with only its three Kazakhs (Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, and Assan Bazayev), plus Luis Sanchez. Unfortunately for Vinokourov, UCI rules require every team to start a grand tour with at least 6 riders. Here's the official UCI statement.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Who's out: Which riders won't start?

There are only 10 riders from the provisional Tour start list on the list of names under investigation in Spain, including 1 reserve. All will be withdrawn from the Tour.


  • Isidro Nozal
  • Jorg Jaksche
  • Joseba Beloki
  • Reserve: Aitor Osa
  • Added Friday: Alberto Contador
  • Added Friday: Allan Davis

Update: Astaná-Würth withdrew from the Tour on Friday afternoon. That adds Vinokourov, Kashechkin, Bazayev, and Sanchez as riders from the provisional start list not on the final start list.


  • Ivan Basso


  • Francisco Mancebo


  • Jan Ullrich
  • Oscar Sevilla

Some mainstream press reports have “dozens of others being excluded from the Tour, but that's not the case. There are almost 40 riders named in the 500-page report, but only these 10 were on their team's provisional Tour roster, so only they can be excluded from the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Andrey Kashechkin, Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 22, 2006

Astaná-Würth cleared for Tour start

Eurosport | Vino team cleared for Tour

Alexandre Vinokourov's Astaná-Würth team was officially cleared by the UCI to participate in the 2006 Tour de France, starting a week from Saturday in Strasbourg. The team is partially owned by Manolo Saiz, who was arrested for being a possible customer of a doping ring under investigation in Spain. Saiz turned over day-to-day management of the squad to 3 men (Neil Stephens, Marino Lejarreta, Herminio Diaz Zabala). The Tour organization has expressed some displeasure about the team's involvement, but can't exclude them because they're riding based on their ProTour license. The Tour would have to break its agreement with the ProTour, or the UCI would have to break its agreement with the team, to keep it from starting. Alexandre Vinokourov, who has played the crazy Kazakh in the last few Tours for T-Mobile, finally will get a chance to see what he can do riding for himself.

    Astaná-Würth 2006 Tour de France roster:

  • Alexandre Vinokourov
  • Andrey Kashechkin
  • Luis Sanchez
  • Jorg Jaksche
  • Joseba Beloki
  • Allan Davis
  • Alberto Contador
  • Assan Bazayev
  • Isidro Nozal


  • Aitor Osa
  • Carlos Barredo
  • Dariusz Baranowski

Posted by Frank Steele on June 22, 2006 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Luis Sanchez, Tour de France 2006, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2006

Bombshell: Liberty Seguros ceases sponsorship of team

procycling | Liberty Seguros pulls plug on Saiz! The Spanish arm of Liberty Mutual will stop sponsoring one of Spain's premier cycling squads, after the team's director was arrested in connection with a blood doping probe. Six riders from Liberty Seguros are still contesting the Giro, but ProCycling quotes a release from the parent company that they are ceasing sponsorship as of today. The Boston-based company had modified its sponsorship after team rider Roberto Heras tested positive for EPO during last year's Vuelta a España, and cited the tighter anti-doping terms in ending its sponsorship:

"The implications of Manolo Saiz's detention are highly alarming: they damage our name and cycling's name," the statement continued.

Among the team's riders are Alexandre Vinokourov, Alberto Contador, Davide Etxebarria, Andrey Kashechkin, and Allan Davis; the fate of the riders' contracts is currently up in the air. Also: VeloNews.com | Liberty pulls plug on sponsorship VeloNews quotes from this L'Equipe story (in French | Google English translation) that a Spanish radio network is reporting that Jan Ullrich was among Fuentes' clients, along with about 200 others, after claiming Tuesday that Basso was. Both riders have previously worked with Luigi Cecchini, mentioned in some stories as a friend and collaborator with Fuentes. Like Basso, Ullrich denies receiving medical support from Cecchini, but says the doctor has assisted with his training. In any case, Ullrich said on the T-Mobile web site: “I have never worked together with Fuentes.” VN also reports that Vinokourov says, characteristically, that he's riding the Tour, team or no team. cyclingnews.com | Liberty Seguros terminate contract

Posted by Frank Steele on May 25, 2006 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Doping, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Luis Sanchez, Manolo Saiz, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Stage 11 wrapup

I found myself wanting Discovery Channel to chase Vinokourov down Wednesday: they still had 5 or 6 strong guys on the Galibier, and I think they could have closed a 2 minute gap. Glancing through Bob Martin's Stage 11 summary, though, they clearly did exactly the right thing.

Just four guys made time on Armstong Wednesday: Vinokourov got 1:45, Botero 1:32; Christophe Moreau got 8 seconds; José Azevedo got 2 seconds.

Botero and Vinokourov are potentially dangerous guys, but their damage was contained, and the rest of the field has lost one more day's opportunity to put Lance Armstrong under a hammer. Armstrong's retirement is now 10 stages and 11 days away.

It's clear Iban Mayo, Roberto Heras, or Brad McGee won't be knocking Armstrong off the podium; Heras lost another 17 minutes, Mayo 22:35, and McGee almost 40 minutes. The performances of Heras and Beloki have led Liberty Seguros to reportedly make Jorg Jaksche the team captain for the rest of the Tour.

Today, Discovery will mostly work to keep GC contenders out of any successful break: If Basso tries to go off, they'll chase. On the other hand, there are so many riders facing disappointing Tours, and lowly placed, that it shouldn't be hard to find a quality break and let it go. Especially after Vinokourov's break succeeded Wednesday.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bradley McGee, Christophe Moreau, Iban Mayo, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Stage 11 underway

There have been a couple of opportunistic breakaways this morning, with the biggest being an attack from Alexandre Vinokourov, who is now riding with Santiago Botero and Oscar Pereiro of Phonak, and Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi. Initially, their group also included Francisco Mancebo, Roberto Heras, Pietro Caucchioli, and Chris Horner, but those four were dropped on the Madeleine.

Pereiro had a dramatic off-road experience going off the side of the road on the descent, and down a small hill. He was able to come back up, get on board, and recapture the break.

Thor Hushovd (!) and Samuel Dumoulin also spent some time in front. Presumably, Hushovd had an eye toward the first intermediate sprint of the day, but he's been picked up by the main field.

Green jersey Tom Boonen crashed again, around 10 kilometers into the stage. The race doctor spent time working on his knee, and Guido Trenti spent quite a while pacing Boonen back to the field.

On the Col de la Madeleine, Botero took max mountain points, followed by Vinokourov, Pereiro, Martinez, and then Christophe Moreau and Michael Rasmussen in the peloton.

Discovery shucked a lot of riders on the day's first climb, but there are still 6 or 7 Discos driving the field. There may be 40 riders in the Armstrong group, and they're letting Botero and Vinokourov's group sit around 1:30 up the road. They must be able to see them on some of these roads.

Vinokourov picks up a 6 second time bonus at the sprint line; his group is closing on a 2 minute gap to the peloton. They're also closing on the Col du Telegraphe -- time to climb.

Egoi Martinez is off the lead group early on the Telegraphe, and now so is Botero. Botero battles back up to Vino and Pereiro!

The trio is 1:58 in front of Armstrong's group, which includes Rubiera, Savoldelli, Popovych, Hincapie, and Beltran, and Azevedo.

Jean-Patrick Nazon and Kim Kirchen have both abandoned today. On the Galibier, Quick Step's Stefano Zanini joins them.

As the lead three hit the summit of the Telegraphe, their gap has stretched to almost 3 minutes. Ullrich, Valverde, Basso, Klöden, Landis, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Moreau, and Chris Horner are all still in the 40-strong Armstrong group. Botero again gets max mountain points, then Vinokourov, then Pereiro.

On the Galibier, Vinokourov and Botero have dropped Pereiro; looks like he's toasted. Mayo keeps falling off the Armstrong group. The gap reached 3:30, but it's coming down now, at about 3:00.

Beltran has finally fallen off the lead group.

Vinokourov has dropped Botero.

Down to 26 riders in the Armstrong group. Vinokourov is 3:15 up on Armstrong with 6 kilometers to the top. I don't think Armstrong can count on catching Vinokourov on the descent.

Rubiera is popped. Armstrong catches Pereiro; Horner is off the back; Armstrong has Azevedo, Hincapie, Popovych and Savoldelli. The gap is 3:06.

Armstrong's group is down below 20 with 4 supporting Discos. Guerini is off the back with Klöden and Michael Rogers. The gap has dropped to 2:47.

Vinokourov is going to take the Henri Desgrange prize for the first man to the Tour's highest point. Less than 1 kilometer to the top for Vino.

Armstrong has lost another Disco. Botero continues to struggle in between Vinokourov and the chasers. He may catch Vinokourov on the descent.

Vino is first over, Botero is :38 seconds back. Rasmussen has launched an attack and has a good gap on Armstrong. Rasmussen showed us his descending skills the other day. It's going to be an interesting run-in to Briançon.

I'm starting a new post for the last 40 k; if you've been reloading this page, check the home page for the new post.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

Ullrich, Vino, Basso: Rider reactions on Stage 10

From the T-Mobile team website:

A battling Jan Ullrich came in with Andreas Klöden 2:15 minutes behind and appeared to be suffering from more than just the effects of the climb. Ullrich: "I felt pains in my back while breathing. That was a little handicap. Big thanks to Klödi who waited for me. The Tour is still long." Alexander Vinokourov came in 5:18 minutes behind the leaders in a disappointing performance: "It wasn´t a good day for me. I found it difficult to find my rhythm."

Related: Jan's Diary

From Yahoo! Sport:

Basso said that he was content to have lost not too much time on the Texan.

"I wasn't at my best but when I realised I couldn't go the same pace I just decided to drop back and go at my own.

"Armstrong's performance doesn't surprise me as he is really strong."

Vinokourov all but admitted that there was no stopping Armstrong.

"He can take you out anytime he wants," said the downcast Kazakh.

From CyclingNews.com:


"I went very badly the whole day; I believe that it has been a horrible stage for the whole team and also for me, especially in the last climb. I was expecting more, but I admit that I have gone too long without taking part in an important race and [today] I felt it. There is still a lot of radcleft and I expect to be able to do better than today."


"did not feel good from the beginning of the day and at the end I was very bad. ... I do not [know] what has happened to me, because till now I felt very good. Because of that I hope that I was just having a bad day, because I felt very good [before]. Simply, my legs were not working today. I am now very far down in the general classification, but still hope to see if I can recover the form that I had before. I have suffered a very hard blow, but I will try to recover and tomorrow we will see if it was only a bad day."

More links welcome in the comments, if you've seen other rider reactions.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Ivan Basso, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Roberto Heras | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stage 10 underway

First rider to drop out on the day was Lampre's Gerrit Glomser; he's the 16th rider out, leaving 173 in the race.

An opportunistic break was allowed to get 13:30 out in front; the biggest name and highest placed rider to make that break is Laurent Brochard, the former world champion, sitting 49th, 7:58 back this morning. Brochard, of course, has the peloton's worst mullet.

So much for "making CSC control the pace": Discovery is still doing most of the work on Cormet de Roselend. Discovery looks to be performing to expectations: Their pace is sending more than just pack fodder off the back: Iban Mayo has fallen off, and yellow jersey Jens Voigt is at the back of the lead group. Beltran is doing the pacemaking, and even Padrnos is still in the lead group, shadowing Voigt.

Brochard's group is 4:45 up the road from Armstrong, Ullirch, Leipheimer, Landis, Pereiro, Julich, Moreau, Vinokourov, and others. Voigt has yo-yoed off the back of the lead group and rejoined.

Over the top of the Col de Roselend, Pereiro attacks, and is joined by Jorg Jaksche of Liberty Seguros. The Brochard-to-big guns gap is 3:43 at the summit.

Popovych crashed on the descent, apparently with a team car, but got a new bike, and is chasing back onto Armstrong's group. Looks like he hit CSC's team car, and may have tangled and lost with the front fender of one of Discovery's Subarus.

The peloton has grown as riders dropped on the first climb chase back on. Discovery is still doing all the pacemaking.

Jaksche and Pereiro have caught the break, which is now composed of Brochard (Bouyges), Jaksche (Liberty), Pereiro (Phonak), Luis Sanchez (Liberty), Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre), Mauro Facci (Fassa Bortolo), Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R), Inaki Isasi (Euskaltel), and Joost Posthuma (Rabobank). Pereiro started 5:12 behind Voigt this morning.

Discovery has brought back everyone from the early break except Jaksche, Pereiro and Brochard, and it won't be long on those three.

Roberto Heras and Denis Menchov are toasted and off the back. Mayo reportedly likewise, Beloki is off the back. CSC finally is making a move, sending Sastre off the front. Discovery lets him dangle off the front, but he doesn't have the legs to go.

Guerini off the back, Moreau off the back, Vladimir Karpets off the back. Horner off the back. Julich off the back. Botero off the back. Five Discovery riders up front. Only about 20 riders in total still in contention. Sastre falling off this group, paying for his attempted break.

Leipheimer, Vino, Landis, Ullrich, Basso all are still in Armstrong's group. Valverde is also there. Discovery has started to pay for the pace; Popovych is the only Discovery left. Vinokourov is back at the back of the group of 16 riders; Mancebo is there. Vinokourov is dropped! T-Mobile has Klöden and Ullrich up front.

Popovych is popped, and IT'S ON! Armstrong blows the group of 14 into a group of 5 or so: Armstrong, Basso, Valverde, Rasmussen, and Mancebo! Goodbye, Klöden, Ullrich, Leipheimer, Julich, and Landis. They've still got 10 kilometers to ride!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Francisco Mancebo, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Laurent Brochard, Michael Rasmussen, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 11, 2005

Rest day checkup

Daily Peloton | Jambon Report Rest Day 1

Over at dailypeloton.com, Locutus offers his update on the race so far: Who's outperforming expectations, and who's underperforming.

The big thing to remember is how many people with big expectations haven't shown anything this year: Just among the Americans, there are Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, and Chris Horner, but also Heras and Beloki, Santiago Botero, Vinokourov, Ullrich, Iban Mayo and especially Ivan Basso. Most of these guys have picked out a stage they think plays to their strength in the mountains.

For at least a few of them, I think it's going to be tomorrow. Vinokourov and Armstrong have a history of making their bones on the mountaintop finishes. Given all the talk about Discovery's strength or weakness as a team, they're going to want to stamp their name all over a mountain stage, and soon.


procycling.com | Bruyneel on voyage of Discovery

So would tomorrow’s stage, which at first glance looks tailor-made for an Armstrong attack, see more of the champion’s trademark summit spectaculars[?] “Well, I hope it’s the same this time,” said Bruyneel. “This is the first big mountain stage so in theory there will be attacks. A lot of teams are ready. But we will see.

“Maybe it’s going to come down to the final time trial,” he said. “There’s nothing that can tell me today that Lance will definitely be in yellow tomorrow.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 11, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Chris Horner, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2005

Stage 1 updates

Ullrich with bandage on neck
Dave Zabriskie @
Tour de Georgia ITT
CSC's Dave Zabriskie is the early leader at Stage 1: His 20:51 has held the top place for more than an hour against some pretty good time trialers. Usually, the early times can't stand up to the big boys still to come, but that's a fast time, and should at least rank highly at day's end.

BBC Sport quotes Zabriskie:

The American tells BBC Sport at the finish: "I spent the whole time not being able to hear crowd because I had team boss Bjarne Riis in the ear telling me to catch the motorbike."

Klöden comes in at 22:52. Vladimir Karpets was one rider some people predicted could take this stage: He finished in 21:56. Michael Rich, another possible stage winner, is in at 22:05.

On OLN, Paul Sherwen just reported that he had talked to somebody at Liberty Seguros, and that Joseba Beloki is 5 kilograms (~11 pounds) overweight for the Tour.

Alexandre Vinokourov comes in at 21:44, still good enough for second so far -- Zabriskie was just flying.

Levi Leipheimer is on the road, as is double world time-trial champion Michael Rogers. Leipheimer is in at 22:04, good for 7th, for now.

ROGERS COMES IN at 22:44! Not good for the Aussie.

Floyd Landis comes in at 21:53 -- that's 4th at the moment (12:45 Eastern).

Hincapie comes in 3rd so far, at 21:48!

Armstrong is off! He's not wearing the yellow jersey, as he could. He says he only wants to wear the jersey if he's earned it. He pulled out of his pedal right at the bottom of the start ramp. He also had pedal problems at the Dauphiné Libéré.

Brad McGee, another consensus pick to challenge for the stage win, comes in placed 15th. Zabriskie has a shot at wearing yellow tonight.

Ullrich is 42 seconds back of Zabriskie at the first time check, while Armstrong comes through 3 seconds back, or 39 seconds up on Ullrich. Armstrong has a big pink rabbit in sight, and he's closing the gap!

At the 2nd time gap, Armstrong is 3 seconds faster than Zabriskie, and he's passed Jan Ullrich on the road!


BBC Sport | Tour de France opening stage

The BBC offers some photos from today's warm-up and TT: Bodrogi and Zabriskie are already up in the gallery, with more to come.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bradley McGee, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Joseba Beloki, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 29, 2005

Bruyneel: Basso, Vinokourov, Ullrich Armstrong's only rivals

BBC SPORT | Armstrong 'has only three rivals'

Discovery DS Johann Bruyneel says there are just 3 riders he thinks of as “real challengers” for this year's Tour title:

Ivan Basso:

"He was the only one to stay with Lance in the mountains [in 2004]," Bruyneel said.

"Will he be able to maintain his condition for three weeks on the Tour? That's the question mark. But it's possible."

Alexandre Vinokourov:

"Vinokourov takes advantage of every opportunity," said Bruyneel.

"I think he's become more resistant over the years, and stronger in the mountains."

Jan Ullrich:

"Vinokourov takes advantage of every opportunity," said Bruyneel.

"I think he's become more resistant over the years, and stronger in the mountains."

Bruyneel downplayed Liberty Seguros' Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki as GC threats.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Roberto Heras, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beloki: "What I want out of this Tour is to feel good again"

SLAM! Sports | Spain's Joseba Beloki eager to make his Tour de France comeback

One of the wildcards in this year's Tour is Joseba Beloki, 2nd in the 2002 Tour and 3rd in 2000 and 2001 before the crash (and the writer's guild says I have to call it "horrific") that took him out of the 2003 Tour on Stage 9.

Beloki did exactly nothing during 2004. He rode for Brioches La Boulangère, and just didn't seem to fit. He also complained that team doctors wouldn't let him take his asthma medication, Pulmicort, even though Beloki said he had used it since childhood.

This year, he's reunited with Manolo Saiz, the director he raced for at ONCE, at Liberty Seguros, and says he expects to ride in support of Roberto Heras:

"I have an important role to play. I think that Heras is very strong on the mountains, and I will try to be as close to him as possible," Beloki said. "If possible, I'll try to create a surprise and get as far ahead as possible, which would be good for everyone."

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2005 in Joseba Beloki, Manolo Saiz, Roberto Heras | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 20, 2005

Gerolsteiner names Tour 9, CSC and Liberty Seguros close in

procycling.com | Shorts:

Levi Leipheimer will lead
Gerolsteiner's Tour squad.
  Photo by Frank Steele.

Gerolsteiner has finalized its Tour de France squad:

Levi Leipheimer
Georg Totschnig
Michael Rich
Sebastian Lang
Fabian Wegmann
Robert Förster
Ronny Scholz
Beat Zberg
Peter Wrolich

CSC's near-final squad:

Ivan Basso
Kurt-Asle Arvesen
Bobby Julich
Giovanni Lombardi
Carlos Sastre
Nicki Sorensen
Jens Voigt
David Zabriskie
Jakob Piil or Luke Roberts

Two Americans, with Christian Vande Velde home recuperating and looking toward the Vuelta in September.

Liberty Seguros is down to 11 Tour candidates:

René Andrle
Joseba Beloki
Alberto Contador
Allan Davis
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano
Roberto Heras
Jörg Jaksche
Luis Leon Sanchez
Marcos Serrano
Angel Vicioso
Jan Hruska

Cycling4All.com probably maintains the most complete provisional Tour start list.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 20, 2005 in Alberto Contador, Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Wegmann, Georg Totschnig, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Levi Leipheimer, Roberto Heras | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

McGee takes TdS Stage 3; Ullrich holds lead

Yahoo! Sport | McGee wins Tour of Switzerland third stage

McGee in a sprint
McGee, from cyclingnews.com gallery

Australia's Brad McGee is looking well-prepared for the Tour, as he took a sprint win on Stage 3 at the Tour of Switzerland today. Jan Ullrich continued in the race's overall lead, but McGee now sits just 2 seconds back, followed by Michael Rogers at 18 seconds.

Last year, McGee had a disastrous Tour because of back, hip, and leg pain he said were initially caused by planting olive trees at his home.

In 2003, McGee won the Tour prologue, but then abandoned, complaining of metabolic problems; later tests suggested he was making too much insulin, screwing up his blood sugar levels.

At one point, McGee said 2005 was the year when he thought he could win the Tour's overall title; his good form has got to at least make him a favorite in this year's prologue.

Olympic champion Paolo Bettini didn't take the start this morning, blaming stomach problems.


VeloNews.com | McGee takes third stage of Tour of Switzerland

Quoting McGee:

"For the first time I started training for the Tour de France last October," he said. "I am continuing to make progress and in fact I think I am ahead of schedule."

DailyPeloton.com | Tour de Suisse Stage 3

Picking up the DP commentary as Koldo Gil is trying a late breakaway:

But unfortunately for him, there was a certain German wearing a certain yellow thingy around today. And "wearing" two great legs too, by the way: Jan Ullrich drove the chasing bunch into Sankt Anton, and poor Koldo was brought back with just 500m left. Then it was time for the sprint, and for Brad McGee to get proper reward for the perfect race he rode today.

procycling.com | McGee closes in on Ullrich

There were some notable performances with the Tour de France in mind. Spaniards Iban Mayo and Alejandro Valverde were both prominent in the front group, while Sinkewitz’s Quick Step team-mate Michael Rogers was also up there. Missing, though, was Joseba Beloki, who finished almost six minutes down and is now very short of time in which to rediscover his best form.

cyclingnews.com | Tour de Suisse Stage 3 results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Bradley McGee, Iban Mayo, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Top Stories, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 21, 2005

Parra takes Stage 13; il Falco poaches Basso for lead

BBC SPORT | Parra seals win as leader changes

Another stage win for the "minor" teams, as Ivan Parra of Selle Italia-Colombia managed to serve both team and self on a long breakaway through the Dolomites.

Parra was riding largely to support teammate José Rujano, seeking the overall Giro climber's jersey, but still had the legs to put 23 seconds into his breakmates and 4 minutes into the GC candidates.

Ivan Basso, complaining of stomach pains, couldn't hang on the day's last climb, and Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli took advantage, gaining 1:08 on Basso (and 6 seconds on Gilberto Simoni), and moving into the race lead, 50 seconds up on Basso. Danilo Di Luca is nipping at Basso's heels, 53 seconds behind Savoldelli. Simoni is back at 2:16 in 4th.

Stage Top 10:
1) Ivan Parra, Selle Italia-Colombia 6:31:35
2) Juan Manuel Garate, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :23
3) José Rujano, Selle Italia-Colombia, at :23
4) Pietro Caucchioli, Credit Agricole, at :27
5) Tadej Valjavec, Phonak, at 1:45
6) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, at 2:55
7) Giampaolo Caruso, Liberty Seguros, at 3:03
8) Wladimir Belli, Domina Vacanze, at 3:48
9) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at 4:00
10) Gilberto Simoni, Lampre, at 4:06


Eurosport.com | Savoldelli ignores Armstrong advice

Savoldelli told Eurosport Armstrong told him to sit tight after the stage win on Thursday, and to rely on his time-trial performance to beat Ivan Basso.

"I decided not to take his advice and attacked today. Now I've got the pink jersey I think I did the right thing."

Daily Peloton | Giro d'Italia Riders and Abandons - Updated 21 May

Many, many abandons today, including Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Discovery Channel's Ryder Hesjedal, Jaan Kirsipuu, Joseba Beloki, and, most surprisingly, potential GC contender Stefano Garzelli of Liquigas-Bianchi. Garzelli hurt his leg on a fall earlier this week, and just didn't have it when the road turned up. Perhaps with Di Luca riding so well, the team wanted to reset his season goals a bit, and avoid any conflict.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 21, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Jaan Kirsipuu, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2005

Bettini DQ'ed at Stage 4 finish; Luca Mazzanti awarded stage

www.cyclingnews.com | Stage 4 results

A hard-fought sprint at the line today left Baden Cooke with nowhere to go but into the barricades (shades of Djamolodine Abdoujaparov) and initially gave the pink jersey, Quick Step's Paolo Bettini, a second stage win.

After discussion among the judges, Bettini was "relegated" from the final sprint, and given the field's time. That won't endanger his maglia rosa, but it gives the day's win to Luca Mazzanti of the Panaria team, which has a second stage win to go with Brett Lancaster's prologue victory. Mazzanti also leapfrogs into 3rd overall, behind Bettini and Danilo Di Luca.

Cooke had told Eurosport he was worried about "tricky finish" of Stage 4.

Basso, Simoni, Cunego, Garzelli, and even many of the sprint specialists (including Petacchi, Zabel, O'Grady, and McEwen) finished in the main field, but Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli, who won the Giro in 2002, lost about 40 seconds on all the other GC contenders. Savoldelli sits 29th overall, at 1:09 from Bettini, and trailing his Discovery teammate Volodymyr Bileka by 5 seconds.

Former Tour de France contender Joseba Beloki, who has never returned to top form after his crash in the 2003 Tour, finished at 1:18 behind Mazzanti, and sits more than 10 minutes back overall.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Joseba Beloki, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Armstrong not alone: Spanish Tour threats also behind

procycling | Shorts: Mayo, Beloki, Igor

Procycling reports that Eukaltel's Iban Mayo and both Joseba Beloki and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano are behind thei training goals.

Mayo had to have a knee drained, and lost some training time.

Beloki has already pulled out of two regional races already, and won't start Semana Catalana next week as originally planned. He'll likely race next at the Tour of the Basque Country in April.

Gonzalez de Galdeano (2nd and subsequent ref: "G de G") is still suffering what procycling calls "a long-term malaise" dating back to early last season. G de G is on the start list for Milan-San Remo, but procycling suggests his place may go to Australian teammate Aaron Kemps.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 16, 2005 in Iban Mayo, Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 08, 2005

Tirreno-Adriatico set to kick off

cyclingnews.com | Sprinters galore in 40th Tirreno-Adriatico

If you're wondering where the superstars of racing are, and why they're not at Paris-Nice, it's because they're in sunny Italy, readying for the 2nd race of the ProTour, which kicks off tomorrow in Civitavecchia.

Most of the world's best sprinters are on hand, including both Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi, Stuart O'Grady, Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Oscar Freire, and Paolo Bettini, last year's winner.

We'll get a look at Joseba Beloki, who's back on a Spanish squad with Liberty Seguros, T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden, CSC's Ivan Basso, and Discovery's George Hincapie.

Tirreno-Adriatico runs seven stages, and most of these riders will also contest Milan-San Remo a week from Saturday.


Cycling4all.com | official startlist

Daily Peloton | Tirreno-Adriatico Preview

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Andreas Klöden, Erik Zabel, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Joseba Beloki, Mario Cipollini, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tirreno-Adriatico '05 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 01, 2004

Beloki back with Saiz at Liberty Seguros

BBC SPORT | Beloki signs for Liberty Seguros

Spain's Joseba Beloki is going home, to the Liberty Seguros team managed by Manolo Saiz.

Beloki finished on the podium at the Tour de France in 2000 and 2002, second in 2002, while riding for Saiz at ONCE. In 2003, Beloki broke several bones in a crash during Stage 9 of the Tour, and hasn't returned to form since.

"My aim is to be the rider that I once was during the Tour," he told Spanish sports daily Marca.

"After many days of uncertainty and anxiety about my future, at last I'll be able to sleep well."

One effect of the new ProTour is that it's less of an issue that Liberty Seguros already has a leader in Roberto Heras, because the team will have to contest more races to be competitive in the new series.

Posted by Frank Steele on December 1, 2004 in Joseba Beloki, Manolo Saiz, Roberto Heras, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

Beloki out of work (again); Pound reelected

VeloNews | Monday's EuroFile: Beloki looking for job; Ullrich wants showdown; Pound at the WADA helm

Joseba Beloki will not ride for Saunier-Duval in 2005, according to French reports.

Beloki, 31, finished 2nd in the 2002 Tour, but had a very disappointing 2004, riding for Brioches La Boulangere, then for Saunier-Duval.

In 2003, while riding for ONCE and in 2nd overall, Beloki suffered a horrific crash when he rolled a tubular on Stage 9. Lance Armstrong, following close behind, detoured through a field, cutting a switchback, then dropped right back into the field on the way to his 5th Tour title.

Eurosport reports Beloki will meet with Manolo Saiz today to discuss joining Liberty Seguros, and quotes L'Equipe (in French) that Beloki bought out his own contract.

Meanwhile, Dick Pound will continue to lead the World Anti-Doping Agency, after being reelected Sunday to a three-year term. Pound said he wants WADA to move beyond Olympic sports, and start also testing professionals.

Posted by Frank Steele on November 22, 2004 in Doping, Joseba Beloki, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2004

Beloki signs with Saunier-Duval

cyclingnews.com | Beloki to Saunier Duval

Joseba Beloki will be back on the road in August, after reaching agreement with Spain's Saunier Duval team. The deal covers the rest of 2004 and 2005.

Look for Beloki in the Vuelta a España later this season.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 28, 2004

Beloki talking to Saunier-Duval

Procycling / News

The Spanish daily Marca reported Sunday that Joseba Beloki is close to signing with Saunier-Duval (rough Google translation to English) for the rest of the season.

His primary goal would be the Vuelta a España.

One sticking point is that Beloki wants to ride in the UCI ProTour next year, and Saunier-Duval isn't sure it's ready to compete on that level, which might keep Beloki out of the Tour de France, still his primary goal.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2004

Beloki out of Tour and Brioches

Procycling.com | Beloki's Brioches split means end of Tour hopes

Joseba Beloki and his team, Brioches La Boulangère, have parted ways “by mutual consent.”

Beloki joined the squad after last year's terrible fall on the Tour's ninth stage, with high hopes of a high placing in this year's Tour. His conditioning never seemed to come this season, and his problems with the team deepened when Beloki complained that team doctors wouldn't let him use Pulmicort, a banned asthma medication he says he has used since childhood, despite a prescription and permission from his former team, ONCE, and the Spanish cycling federation.

A couple of weeks ago, the team's sponsor announced that they would pull out of the sport rather than pick up the extra costs associated with 2005's UCI ProTour, and Beloki found out through the press, further complicating the relationship.

Brioches manager Jean-René Bernaudau told L'Equipe (in French, with Google translation) that Beloki's contract makes it impossible for him to ride this year's Tour with another team.

Beloki was 3rd in the Tour in 2000 and 2001, and 2nd in 2002, before last year's crash, which occurred with him in 2nd overall, 40 seconds behind Lance Armstrong.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 16, 2004 in Joseba Beloki, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 09, 2004

Beloki says he's in for the Tour

www.cyclingnews.com | Beloki & the Tour: will he or won't he?

Despite earlier suggestions that friction with team management and problems getting in top shape might keep Joseba Beloki off the Tour start line, Beloki says you can count on him:

"In spite of my problems with allergies, the Tour is not in danger," said Beloki, adding that he would approach the Tour "with ambition."

"I have allergies and under French law I have problems with my treatment. If I cannot take my usual thing I will have problems in competition," he said. Beloki has a permit to use a medication containing cortisone, but this is not permitted under French regulations.

Next up for Beloki are the Route du Sud (June 19-22), the Spanish championships, and then the Tour de France.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 9, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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.

From cyclingnews.com:

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.


Procycling.com | Underfire Beloki set for Boulangere exit?

VeloNews | Beloki not happy with Boulangere

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.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 8, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2004

Brioches La Boulangere to end sponsorship

Procycling.com | Pro Tour costs force Boulangere out of the sport

More bad news for Joseba Beloki: the sponsor of his team has decided to exit the sport after the 2004 season. Apparently, the increased roster that would be required to contest the UCI Pro Tour, beginning next year, would lead to an increase in sponsorship costs of around 40 percent, which the baking company decided not to spend.

"Of course the objective of the UCI Pro Tour is to provide sponsors with greater marketing potential, but that is beyond what is needed by our company with our smaller needs. It is consequently impossible for us to continue with this great adventure."

BLB’s decision provokes a number of questions, primarily whether team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has another sponsor waiting in the wings. If not, the question then arises about the future of the team’s talented roster of riders, particularly Joseba Beloki, who only joined the French outfit this year, Sylvain Chavanel and Didier Rous.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 3, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beloki fitness update

www.cyclingnews.com | Euskal Bizikleta Stage 1

Joseba Beloki finished 79th, 7:17 back of the stage winner, at Stage 1 of Euskal Bizikleta yesterday.

In another story, cyclingnews quotes from an interview with Marca (in Spanish) that Beloki may be resetting his sights:

Though he still speaks of the 2004 Tour, he acknowledges that his role as a favourite is no longer justified.

"I'm optimistic (for the Tour), but I don't have any illusions," Beloki told Marca. "If I'm not back for the Tour, I will be for the Vuelta. Of that I have no doubt."

Posted by Frank Steele on June 3, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Abt with Beloki update

IHT.com | Beloki aims to complete a key task

It's not the best of news for Beloki fans, but Samuel Abt chimes in with the latest on Beloki's progress: while most of the other Tour contenders have been competing in major events, Joseba is off training in the Pyrenees with his younger brother Gorka, with no result better than a 42nd at the Clasica Alcobendas. Nevertheless, that result apparently cheered his Brioches La Boulangere manager, Jean-Rene Bernaudeau:

"He's very professional, and he has an obsession about the Tour de France," he said of his rider after the Clasica Alcobendas. "He's sure of himself, and he's passing every test he puts himself through. He's not that far behind where he ought to be."

Abt's comment:

Few would agree with that assessment.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 24, 2004 in Joseba Beloki, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 14, 2004

Beloki to return to racing

Yahoo! Sport | Beloki back in the saddle for Tour of Vendee

Joseba Beloki will try again to come back from the injuries he suffered in Stage 9 of the 2003 Tour. Beloki has raced in a couple of races this year, but his results have been disappointing. At his most recent race, Beloki dropped out during the first stage.

Beloki's manager, Jean-Rene Bernaudeau said Beloki's abandonment at the Tour of the Basque Country resulted directly from his eagerness to be back in the saddle:

e was so motivated to compete at home that he forgot how hard the race was.

"He might have made it past the second stage but straight away on the first day he had to deal with 130km and five climbs. It was just too much."

Bernaudeau wouldn't predict Beloki's chances at the Tour, but says he's "done a lot of kilometres in training....a podium is something which is a possibility."

Beloki will skip Liege-Bastogne-Liege next weekend in favor of the Tour of Castille and Leon April 28-May 2.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 14, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2004

Valverde cites 'extra incentive' in Basque win

Eurosport | Makes it look easy

Speaking after today's stage, Kelme's star racer, Alejandro Valverde, alluded to claims by former teammate Jesus Manzano that the team helped him use performance-enhancing drugs:

"I wanted to do well in this stage because the team is going through a lot of trouble thanks to the statements of a certain gentleman," Valverde said alluding to Manzano's detailed doping allegations within the Kelme squad.

The reigning world championships silver medallist flatly denied Manzano's allegations:

"When we heard about the statements, we were very surprised. But what this gentleman was saying is completely false and we've already started to see the consequences on him and I'm sure that at some point or another, everything will be solved."

Eurosport also notes Joseba Beloki's withdrawal from the race, suggesting Beloki was suffering form cramps.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 5, 2004 in Alejandro Valverde, Jesus Manzano, Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2004

Tests: Beloki near top form

Eurosport | Beloki aces medical test

Joseba Beloki's team director, Jean-René Bernadeau, reports that Beloki has recovered "almost all his muscle capacity in his lower right thigh."

Beloki, who crashed out spectacularly in Stage 9 of last year's Tour de France, returned to racing in the Criterium International last week, but finished last in the first stage after a minor crash.

However, with his medical tests aced this week, Beloki is now eyeing an ambitious campaign for the remainder of the spring, starting with Saturday's GP Miguel Indurain and quickly followed by the Tour of the Basque Country starting Monday, April 5.

Beloki was 3rd in the Tour in 2000 and 2001, and second in 2002.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 1, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2004

Beloki to start Criterium International

Procycling.com | Beloki to debut at Criterium International

The long-awaited season debut for Joseba Beloki, now with the Brioches La Boulangere team, looks to be this weekend at the Criterium International.

Although Beloki was previously set to start both the GP d’Ouverture at the beginning of February and then the Tour of Valencia later the same month, tendinitis in his right knee forced the Spaniard to miss both of those rendezvous. Brioches admitted during the recent Tour of Murcia that Beloki’s knee problem was a consequence of his bad crash at the Tour last July when he broke his hip, elbow and wrist.

The story points out that Armstrong has been racing for a month, but that Semana Catalana is just the second stage race for Ullrich and the first for Roberto Heras.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 23, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 17, 2004

Armstrong's Tour offroad detour commemorated

Also from LanceArmstrong.com comes a snapshot of the hillside made famous by Joseba Beloki's spill and Armstrong's hair's-breadth escape during Stage 9 of last year's Tour, and a handmade sign that lets you know that "You Are There."

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2004 in Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

Beloki to be six more weeks

Yahoo! Sport | Beloki hit by new blow as he is ruled out for six weeks

Brioches La Boulangere manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau said Beloki's continuing medical issues do in fact relate to last year's accident on Stage 9 of the Tour:

"He is suffering from a large muscular deficit on the leg that he broke in the Tour de France," said Bernaudeau.

"He will have to cut down his workload for the six weeks."

Bernaudeau insisted that the condition won't change Beloki's goals for the season: the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 3, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2004

Next up: Tour of Murcia

Tuesday's EuroFile: Lining up for Murcia, Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico

VeloNews handicaps the Tour of Murcia, running tomorrow through Sunday. Both Ullrich and Armstrong downplay the race, which both are using to intensify their training base.

Despite the two stars' protests to the contrary, Thursday's 21.3km time trial could provide a clue to this year's Tour. Armstrong won the time trial in his first race of the year in the Tour of Algarve testing a new time trial position in Portugal last month and the race against the clock is vital to his hopes of a sixth Tour.

Ullrich took more than 1:30 from Armstrong in a 47km time trial in last year's Tour but lost in a dramatic climb to Luz Ardiden when the American survived a crash to win which effectively settled the outcome.

And what about the final ITT, where Armstrong was racing Ullrich dead even until Jan overcooked a wet corner, letting Armstrong ease up with the Tour in his jersey pocket?

The Daily Peloton also has a good preview with all the details of who will represent each team and the stage profiles. DP notes:

Meanwhile fans of Beloki must be getting a little worried. Tendonitis has ruled out the early part of his season and he is not named (as yet) in the starting line up for ANY race so far.

Tour contenders on hand: Armstrong, Ullrich, Iban Mayo, Haimar Zubeldia.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 2, 2004 in Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2004

Tour of Murcia preview

Bike.com | Spain To Host Tour Hopefuls

Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich, and Joseba Beloki will all be on the start line together for the first time since last year’s Tour de France at the Tour of Murcia, starting Wednesday. Update 1:01 pm EST: Procycling.com reports Beloki won't race Murcia.

Wednesday’s stage is a 21.3-km time trial (about 13 miles), that should give an indicator of the riders’ early-season fitness.

Ullrich and Beloki, whose comeback was delayed by tendinitis, are riding in their first races this year and will probably be some way short of full fitness.

The German tried to play down the clash.

"It is not significant that Lance and I are going up against each other this week," he said. "Where we finish the race will not have a bearing on the rest of the season.

"I don't intend to put myself in the spotlight by winning the race. I am just concentrating on clocking up the kilometres which I need if I want to win the Tour in July."

The AFP article fingers Alejandro Valverde, coming off a win in the Tour of Valencia, as a likely overall winner.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 1, 2004 in Alejandro Valverde, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2004

Beloki season start delayed again

cyclingnews.com | Beloki delays again

Cyclingnews.com reports that Joseba Beloki, who crashed out of last year's Tour de France during Stage 9 and finished 2nd in the 2002 Tour, has delayed the beginning of his 2004 campaign again.

After a bout of tendinitis prevented him from taking part in the French season openers in the colours of his new Brioches La Boulangère team, Joseba Beloki has once more delayed his season start. Beloki was to have begun racing at Sunday's Trofeo Luis Puig, but has again heeded caution and decided to wait until the moment is right.

"We preferred to wait a little longer," Beloki told Spanish newspaper AS. "Even though I already feel good physically, it's not worth the risk of aggravating the tendinitis. Perhaps it's a bit premature."

It appears Beloki may also sit out the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana next week. No new re-entry date has been set.

Tendinitis is typically an overuse injury; it may be that Beloki tried to rush his recovery by ramping up his miles too quickly.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 22, 2004 in Joseba Beloki | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 07, 2004

Beloki fitness update

Yahoo! Sport | Beloki happy with new team and has Tour in his sights

Beloki, whose dramatic crash during Stage 9 of the 2003 Tour sent Lance Armstrong offroad and Beloki's podium chances down in flames, is training in western France for the season ahead.

"I have no worries about my fitness. I always thought my fall could have been worse. I do however still have quite a lot of muscle to put back on."

Beloki, who has finished in the top three in the past four years on the Tour de France, said that race remained his priority.

"For the Tour, I'll prepare in my own way, following a programme I know well."

Posted by Frank Steele on January 7, 2004 in Joseba Beloki, Rider profiles, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack