The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Before spectacularly crashing out of last year?s Tour de France, Joseba Beloki was hailed by many as a potential Tour de France champion. Beloki left his former employer, ONCE, over the winter to join the French Brioches la Boulangere squad but a string of early season injuries delayed his come-back to competitive racing this year and when he eventually did, the signs were not good. Shortly before the Tour, Brioches announced that both parties had agreed it was in their best interest to go their separate ways on the condition that the Spaniard would not be allowed to sign for any other team to ride the Tour. Last week it was announced that after discussing terms with such teams as Quick.Step-Davitamon, Beloki finally signed on the dotted line for the Spanish Saunier Duval-Prodir squad until the end of 2005. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
In an attempt to make something of his season, Beloki is expected to target the Vuelta Espana.
Following another winter spent stocking up on his favourite gateaux?s, a spring spent desperately trying to lose them and then a July trying to match the speed and strength of Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich has blasted his Team Manager, Walter Godefroot, after comments made in an interview with Le Figaro. Godefroot is quoted as saying that Armstrong, ?lives for cycling,? whilst Ullrich does no more than, ?cycle to live.? He added that the German lacked the ?killer instinct,? and that while the team, ?focused on Jan. He wanted to win the Tour but did not even win a stage." Ullrich responded on national TV saying that, "I cannot let that go. You should ask the people who I work with and not someone like Walter Godefroot who I speak to on the telephone twice a year -- if at all.?
Ukranian, Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has signed for the new Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team. The deal is initially over three seasons with a view to a fourth. Team Director, Johan Bruyneel said, "I'm really excited to get Yaroslav on the team. He's a young rider who has shown his talent on numerous occasions. He was the World U23 champion and he has done some great performances at the Giro d'Italia (3rd in 2003, 5th in 2004). I'm sure he still has a great margin of progression to make and I see him as a future contender for the Tour de France in a few years. It's great to have a big talent like him joining us. He really believes in our program." Popovych added that, "riding for the Discovery team in 2005 has been my ultimate dream."
After his unexpected third place in this year?s Tour, Italian Ivan Basso is relishing next year, the start of the new UCI Pro Tour and an attempt at a Giro-Tour double. In an interview with Datasport, the CSC rider stated that, "I am convinced that it's possible with the right preparation. Besides, if Bugno, Chiappucci and Pantani succeeded, I don't see why others shouldn't?" After this year?s performance, who are we to argue