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  1. #1
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    Is Beloki a threat yet? Will he ever be again?

    I haven't heard about his form lately. Has he even done any racing?

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    Coastal NC oneradtec's Avatar
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    He raced in the Giro and in the Tour de Suisse among other races. Beloki seemed to be riding better at the Tou de Suisse. Liberty Seguros recently announced that Beloki would be included on their tour team.

    My guess is that Beloki's form should be fairly good by the start of the Tour. Plus he'll have another 9 days or so to further sharpen his fitness in the early flat stages of the Tour. By the time the Tour hits the mountains Beloki should be fit and competitive again. I've been watching him since the beginning of the year....so I think that Beloki will be very good at the Tour. I'd love to see the Beloki of old come back to the 'superbowl' of cycling. I honestly feel that during Lance's reign...Beloki was the one rider that actually could have beaten Lance. The year was 2003. My belief is that had Beloki not crashed..he would have won the Tour that year. Many will disagree with me on that...and of course it is a waste of time to consider what could have been. I have never seen an Armstrong rival as strong as Beloki was just before that crash that broke his leg.

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    Until he starts finishing 3 week tours with high placings again, I think the best he can hope for would be a stage win or two. That is not to say that he won't be a potential overall winner in the future, but I just don't see him having the goods this July.
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

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    Most likely he was included on the team to help out in the team time-trial. He has not shown that he can climb like he used to... too bad, 'cause I too thought that he could have won in 2003 if not for the crash.

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    Senior Member squeegy200's Avatar
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    This year, isn't Beloki riding in the shadow of Roberto Heras?

    I get the impression Joseba Beloki has lost his place amongst the tightly knit Spanish cycling community. The Basque/Spanish riders will likely place their efforts behind the likes of Iban Mayo, Haimar Zubeldia and Iņigo Landaluze. The same will go for their dedicated and loyal fans. Roberto Heras is extremely popular in his home country.

    I don't fully comprehend the dynamics of the Spanish cycling community. But I get the impression it is very "Blue Collar" and they frown heavily upon individuals .

    From everything I've seen and read so far, I get the impression Beloki has lost a lot of the appeal/influence he once had with that Spanish community.
    Last edited by squeegy200; 06-27-05 at 06:25 PM.

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    The hearts of Spanish fans are won in the Vuelta. Heras makes the Vuelta a priority and is rewarded as such. In Spain even the great Indurain is criticised for not riding in the Vuelta regularily (ever?), so the fans have always been a little lukewarm over Beloki.

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    Senior Member squeegy200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mellonhead
    The hearts of Spanish fans are won in the Vuelta. Heras makes the Vuelta a priority and is rewarded as such. In Spain even the great Indurain is criticised for not riding in the Vuelta regularily (ever?), so the fans have always been a little lukewarm over Beloki.
    That is true. However, from my unknowledgeable observation, I perceived that the Spanish riders in the European Peloton (Regardless of which team) were very respectful of Indurain and would support him or trade favors with him during races.

    I don't see that at all with Beloki

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    Quote Originally Posted by oneradtec
    He raced in the Giro and in the Tour de Suisse among other races. Beloki seemed to be riding better at the Tou de Suisse. Liberty Seguros recently announced that Beloki would be included on their tour team.

    My guess is that Beloki's form should be fairly good by the start of the Tour. Plus he'll have another 9 days or so to further sharpen his fitness in the early flat stages of the Tour. By the time the Tour hits the mountains Beloki should be fit and competitive again. I've been watching him since the beginning of the year....so I think that Beloki will be very good at the Tour. I'd love to see the Beloki of old come back to the 'superbowl' of cycling. I honestly feel that during Lance's reign...Beloki was the one rider that actually could have beaten Lance. The year was 2003. My belief is that had Beloki not crashed..he would have won the Tour that year. Many will disagree with me on that...and of course it is a waste of time to consider what could have been. I have never seen an Armstrong rival as strong as Beloki was just before that crash that broke his leg.

    That was my first year watching and he was scary if you were rooting for Lance but I still wince for the guy with the recent replays of that crash. That moment was already exciting because they were chasing down the emerging threat from Vino.

    Anyway, was Beloki in better form than Jan in '03? Jan only finished 1.07 back. And would Beloki have been able to hold Lance's wheel on the day of his crash? Even Mayo couldn't drop Lance that day.

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    Armstrong was the strongest rider in 2003, but Beloki attacked as soon as they hit the mountains. As soon as Armstrong chased him down, Vino would attack. The attacks forced Armstrong to chase far ahead of his team, effectively isolating him. The real threat to Armstrong that year is the possibillity of Vino/Beloki attacking, then Ullrich 'bridging up' to form a powerful lead group with Armstong's team not strong enough to follow.

    Once Beloki crashed, only Vino had the legs to attack (Ullrich's not a natural attacker), so Armstrong could go one-on-one with him, where he was stronger.

    This year the same situation rears its' head. Vino is back, and Basso proved last year that he can attack in the mountains as well. If the two attack alternately then Armstrong may be worn down, isolated in front. Basso may be all tuckered out from the Giro (like Simoni), but apparantly Iban Mayo and Roberto Heras have vowed revenge for last years' debacle. Throw in some unknown factors like Kloeden, or Leiphiemer, or even Spanish sensation Valverde, and you will have the most exiting Tour in many years.

    Don't be surpised if Vino is the real team leader at T-Mobile. He has let slip more than once that the team expects him to attack in the mountains, and the 'party line' of him riding for Ullrich may be an elaborate deception.

  10. #10
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    Back to the original question, I don't think Joseba has it in him to
    be a serious threat this year. I think if he does well we will see a similiar
    situation to T-mobile, the team self destructs as 2 cg contenders battle for
    leadership.
    I do think that in 2003 Beloki could have won prior to his crash.

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mellonhead
    The hearts of Spanish fans are won in the Vuelta. Heras makes the Vuelta a priority and is rewarded as such. In Spain even the great Indurain is criticised for not riding in the Vuelta regularily (ever?), so the fans have always been a little lukewarm over Beloki.
    He rode it at least once. He finished second in 1991.

    Are you saying he should have done the Vuelta in 92 and 93? Seems to me a rider should aim at least a little toward the races that suit him. As a great time trialist and not nearly as good a climber the Tour and Giro were much better suited for his talents than the Vuelta.


    Went out, looked it up and am back.

    Mig rode the Vuelta for 7 years in a row. 1985 thru 1991. From 92 thru 94 he tried for the Giro/Tour double doing it twice.

    I think every year for 7 years is pretty regular.
    Last edited by Keith99; 06-28-05 at 03:24 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    Seems to me a rider should aim at least a little toward the races that suit him. As a great time trialist and not nearly as good a climber the Tour and Giro were much better suited for his talents than the Vuelta.

    Dont forget that in North America everyone is conditioned to think that "The Tour" is the only race that really matters. Until recently, the Vuelta, was regarded in Spain as at least as worthy as the Tour. Spanish fans are still upset that their race was moved from the spring, since many riders now claim that they are too tired to ride it. Getting back to Indurain & Beloki.... in the eyes of Spanish fans, a true Spaniard should be able to ride the mountains in the home tour. A time trial specialist is not in the Spanish tradition.

    I only have this opinion 'cause my neighbour is from Spain and used to see the Vuelta come through his mountain town.

  13. #13
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    Beloki was DNF for both the Giro and the Tour de Suisse so unless he's playing some mighty tricky mind games I don't think he'll be much of a factor in the Tour.

    I do agree that Beloki was probably Lance's biggest threat in 2003 and it was great and exciting to see Lance under real pressure and isolated from his team by Beloki and Vino's constant attacks. That is, as a previous poster wrote, the only way to beat Lance.

    I do hope we'll see similar tactics and success from the likes of Vino and Basso (and ?) instead of the usual Lance-a-thon

  14. #14
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mellonhead
    Dont forget that in North America everyone is conditioned to think that "The Tour" is the only race that really matters. Until recently, the Vuelta, was regarded in Spain as at least as worthy as the Tour. Spanish fans are still upset that their race was moved from the spring, since many riders now claim that they are too tired to ride it. Getting back to Indurain & Beloki.... in the eyes of Spanish fans, a true Spaniard should be able to ride the mountains in the home tour. A time trial specialist is not in the Spanish tradition.

    I only have this opinion 'cause my neighbour is from Spain and used to see the Vuelta come through his mountain town.
    I understand how the Spanish fans feel. But they are flat out wrong. The Vuelta is a distant 3rd when it comes to Grand Tours. Just where it falls relative to one day races rather depends on how one looks at it. But there are at most a handful on the same level. I think the Vuelta comes off much better being last than it would being first. When it was early in hte season it got skipped since it was the least of the three and riding it meant skipping one of the other 2. Now it at least gets those who have legs or hunger late in the season. As it was before it stood a good chance of dropping even farther back from the other 2.

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    Being too lazy to google, what has Beloki ever won? Don't get me wrong, 2nd and 3rd in TdF is exceptional, but has he actually won anything besides the occasional 1.3 in Spain?

    Having been an excellent rider before his horrid crash, Beloki has shown us ABSOLUTELY nothing for nearly two full years- at some point, the guy has to realize he's got to finish a multi-stage race, let alone higher than 30th in a one-day. He's been pretty pathetic in his riding, there's really been no purspose whatsoever except just to get some fitness, but obviously he's not achieved much even in that respect. I'd be very surprised- and it is a crying shame, for sure- if he ever gets near his previous form/ability. I honestly can't imagine him even threatening for a stage win this year, but hey- it'd be great to see him exceed expectations.

    When you guys are talking about his chance to have won in '03, are you talking realistically or just that the 'chance' existed? I don't think he had any plausible chance. Sure, he was riding well, and most importantly attacking, but in the stages he completed did he ever gain any time on Armstrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 97 Teran
    When you guys are talking about his chance to have won in '03, are you talking realistically or just that the 'chance' existed? I don't think he had any plausible chance. Sure, he was riding well, and most importantly attacking, but in the stages he completed did he ever gain any time on Armstrong?

    OK, lets go back to 2003.....

    Its stage 8, on mythical Alpe D'Huez. Iban Mayo has taken off for what will be an epic win. Then Vino attacks and Armstrong cannot follow. Maya wins by an incredible 2:12 over Armstrong, and Vino has made up a credible 30+ seconds on Armstrong as well, but more important was that the Postal team could not follow the pace. Armstrong was isolated and chasing on his own. Beloki has finished in the Armstrong group only 40 seconds down on the defending champ in the General Classification. Maya and Vino are still 1 minute back on GC, but closing.

    Stage 9: Another big mountain. This time the Galibier. Both Mayo and Vino attack, and again Armstrong finds himself having to chase down the attackers on his own. Then Beloki jumps. Armstrong is tired and cannot drop Beloki, but hangs on his wheel. Vino is already up the road. If Beloki bridges up to him he may drop Armstrong putting Beloki securely in Yellow. Beloki charges on, pulling Armstrong further away from the rest of the pack. Armstrong is standing, spinning, but cant make time on Beloki. Then on the descent of the Galibier, Beloki blows a tire and crashes. Vino goes on to win by another 30 seconds, but without Beloki Armstrong simply marks Vino and wins the tour.

    Epilogue: Could Beloki have won? When he crashed he was the stronger rider on the day. If he had not crashed he may have allowed Vino to win the tour. In 2003 Beloki's team (ONCE) finished only 30 seconds down in the Team TT. Beloki was a good time trialist.

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mellonhead
    OK, lets go back to 2003.....

    Its stage 8, on mythical Alpe D'Huez. Iban Mayo has taken off for what will be an epic win. Then Vino attacks and Armstrong cannot follow. Maya wins by an incredible 2:12 over Armstrong, and Vino has made up a credible 30+ seconds on Armstrong as well, but more important was that the Postal team could not follow the pace. Armstrong was isolated and chasing on his own. Beloki has finished in the Armstrong group only 40 seconds down on the defending champ in the General Classification. Maya and Vino are still 1 minute back on GC, but closing.

    Stage 9: Another big mountain. This time the Galibier. Both Mayo and Vino attack, and again Armstrong finds himself having to chase down the attackers on his own. Then Beloki jumps. Armstrong is tired and cannot drop Beloki, but hangs on his wheel. Vino is already up the road. If Beloki bridges up to him he may drop Armstrong putting Beloki securely in Yellow. Beloki charges on, pulling Armstrong further away from the rest of the pack. Armstrong is standing, spinning, but cant make time on Beloki. Then on the descent of the Galibier, Beloki blows a tire and crashes. Vino goes on to win by another 30 seconds, but without Beloki Armstrong simply marks Vino and wins the tour.

    Epilogue: Could Beloki have won? When he crashed he was the stronger rider on the day. If he had not crashed he may have allowed Vino to win the tour. In 2003 Beloki's team (ONCE) finished only 30 seconds down in the Team TT. Beloki was a good time trialist.
    Let's not forget what happened a few stages later.

    Stage 12: ITT where Ulrich puts 1 minute and 36 seconds into Lance. Later we learn Lance got dehydrated and was sill hurting the next day.

    Stage 13: Mountians but it seems no one wants to be the first to attack. While we can never know what Beloki would have done (who knows he might have also fried in the TT) it is my guess he would have attacked somewhere along the way. As it was Lance lost a little time to Jan. If it had been a harder day of racing he might have lost much more and also perhaps not have been recovered for stage 14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mellonhead
    OK, lets go back to 2003.....

    Its stage 8, on mythical Alpe D'Huez. Iban Mayo has taken off for what will be an epic win. Then Vino attacks and Armstrong cannot follow. Maya wins by an incredible 2:12 over Armstrong, and Vino has made up a credible 30+ seconds on Armstrong as well, but more important was that the Postal team could not follow the pace. Armstrong was isolated and chasing on his own. Beloki has finished in the Armstrong group only 40 seconds down on the defending champ in the General Classification. Maya and Vino are still 1 minute back on GC, but closing.

    Stage 9: Another big mountain. This time the Galibier. Both Mayo and Vino attack, and again Armstrong finds himself having to chase down the attackers on his own. Then Beloki jumps. Armstrong is tired and cannot drop Beloki, but hangs on his wheel. Vino is already up the road. If Beloki bridges up to him he may drop Armstrong putting Beloki securely in Yellow. Beloki charges on, pulling Armstrong further away from the rest of the pack. Armstrong is standing, spinning, but cant make time on Beloki. Then on the descent of the Galibier, Beloki blows a tire and crashes. Vino goes on to win by another 30 seconds, but without Beloki Armstrong simply marks Vino and wins the tour.

    Epilogue: Could Beloki have won? When he crashed he was the stronger rider on the day. If he had not crashed he may have allowed Vino to win the tour. In 2003 Beloki's team (ONCE) finished only 30 seconds down in the Team TT. Beloki was a good time trialist.
    True that Mayo rocked LA on 8, but no time gain for Beloki. Not sure I agree with 9. The way I remember it (which is very fallible, I'll allow) was that it wasn't a mtn. top finish, and they appeared to have a good chance of catching Vino until Beloki crashed and the chase group got pretty disorganized. While Beloki may have been stronger that day, my feeling was that Armstrong looked to have done just enough to maintain his lead. In any case, we're dealing in hypotheticals- the summation of all this is that it's a crying shame Beloki had such a bad accident.

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    Latest from www.cyclingnews.com probably explains Beloki and his absences from racing podiums.

    Beloki "close to Heras"

    Joseba Beloki is back on the roads of the Tour de France, two years after his fatal fall down the slopes of the Col de la Rochette, which immediately shattered the hopes of the second-placed at the time. Since then, the three times podium-finisher has not been able to get back to that same level. The accident still haunts him, he told Spanish newspaper Marca. ....................



    Hard to race when you're dead, even more of a miracle to return to race again 2 years later!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 97 Teran
    True that Mayo rocked LA on 8, but no time gain for Beloki. Not sure I agree with 9. The way I remember it (which is very fallible, I'll allow) was that it wasn't a mtn. top finish, and they appeared to have a good chance of catching Vino until Beloki crashed and the chase group got pretty disorganized. While Beloki may have been stronger that day, my feeling was that Armstrong looked to have done just enough to maintain his lead. In any case, we're dealing in hypotheticals- the summation of all this is that it's a crying shame Beloki had such a bad accident.

    I agree. My memory of stage 9 was that Beloki and Armstrong were working well together to reign in Vino. Neither seemed to be attacking the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by serotta
    Latest from www.cyclingnews.com probably explains Beloki and his absences from racing podiums.

    Beloki "close to Heras"

    Joseba Beloki is back on the roads of the Tour de France, two years after his fatal fall down the slopes of the Col de la Rochette, which immediately shattered the hopes of the second-placed at the time. Since then, the three times podium-finisher has not been able to get back to that same level. The accident still haunts him, he told Spanish newspaper Marca. ....................



    Hard to race when you're dead, even more of a miracle to return to race again 2 years later!
    I thought the same thing when I read that...the ghost in the peloton...
    But the rest of the interview pierces your heart. It would be such a great story to see him restored.

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    Senior Member squeegy200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokodeselavy
    I thought the same thing when I read that...the ghost in the peloton...
    But the rest of the interview pierces your heart. It would be such a great story to see him restored.
    He'll be riding with a team dedicated to Roberto Heras. Don't think he would be supported very well if his efforts detracted from the designated teamleader. Unlike Saeco or T-mobile, I think Spanish teams are fiercely loyal as those loyalties are remembered in future races.

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    Quote Originally Posted by squeegy200
    He'll be riding with a team dedicated to Roberto Heras. Don't think he would be supported very well if his efforts detracted from the designated teamleader. Unlike Saeco or T-mobile, I think Spanish teams are fiercely loyal as those loyalties are remembered in future races.
    No, of course I agree with you. I meant it would be nice to see him restored to success, whatever that might mean to him now...stages, other races, the next Tour....

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    Maybe he'll pull a Lemond...

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