Tour de France News for June 9, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
Beloki & the Tour: will he or won't he?
Photo: © Martin Hardie
The question of Brioches la Boulangère rider Joseba Beloki's participation
in the 2004 Tour de France took another twist yesterday when he told news
agency FEF that he would be riding, contrary to previous
reports that he was about to pull out.
"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.
Between his slow recovery from the fall in last year's Tour in which
he broke his hip, problems over his medication and the recent news that
his team's sponsor is withdrawing at the end of 2004, Beloki has not had
a great year so far. Now, he wants to put it all behind him and get on
"I expect that you will soon see the Beloki of last year again. I want
to forget the problems and return to being a cyclist," he said. "I have
recovered perfectly from the fall, but there were other complications.
I was not a mistake to come to France and I affirm my decision."
Beloki said that despite everything he will be there when the 2004 Tour
de France leaves Liege on July 3. "Now I am concentrating on the Alps,
then I will ride the Route du Sud [June 19-22] then the Spanish championships
and the Tour. Those are my immediate plans," said Beloki.
Basso prepares for Tour
Ivan Basso (Team CSC), considered by many to be an outsider for the Tour
de France, continues his preparation this week at the Dauphiné
Libéré, but as with some of his key rivals, he has no intention
of over-extending himself in the pre-Tour test. Basso will likely be considered
a co-leader for CSC at the Tour, along with Spaniard Carlos Sastre, and
has been tipped by US Postal Service directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel
as a real danger man.
"I've trained and raced a lot this spring, but all the time I've focused
on the Tour de France," Basso explained on the team's website (team-csc.com).
"I can feel that I'm in better shape now compared to same time last year,
and everything is going according to plan, which also means I won't try
to make any big results in a race like Dauphiné Libéré."
Basso has also learned one of CSC director Bjarne Riis' important training
techniques, which has already helped the team to success in the early
season stage races.
"I've trained more often on my time trial bike than I used to do in the
past," Basso explained. "Not only can I feel I'm getting better, I can
also see it from my results this spring. Apart from more training, we've
been trying to improve my position on the bike, especially during our
stay in Boston," Basso added, referring to his wind
tunnel testing at MIT in conjunction with bike sponsor Cervelo.
RAGT hires new doctor
The French RAGT Semences-MG Rover team has hired a new team doctor, Samy
Mekloufi. The team's former doctor, Roland Mathieu, passed away two weeks
ago. Mekloufi is new to cycling but worked with a regional rugby team
near Lyon, France.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)