Beloki back but going easy

Saturday, July 31, 2004 11.00pm
Joseba Beloki is back in the saddle in his new Saunier Duval strip and has his focus firmly set on n
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Joseba Beloki made his first appearance for his new Saunier Duval-Prodir team at the GP Getxo-Memorial Ricardo Otxoa in the Basque Country yesterday, and finished more than 13 minutes behind race winner Gert Vanderaerden of the MrBookmaker.com team. Although well off the winning pace, Beloki said he was pleased with his first racing appearance for two months, which he described as "better than in most races at the start of the season", when he was riding in the colours of the French Brioches La Boulangre team. "It wasn't really a good race for me because of the constant changes of rhythm. But not I can look forward to the Tour of Burgos where I want to increase my workload still further. I wasn't going to be firing on all cylinders right from the first day back," said Beloki. His target remains next month's Tour of Spain. "Until then I won't be riding at 100%. I have a got a good team who can defend a leader extremely well and even has the option to play a few different cards at the Vuelta," he said. "The thing that has really helped me in recent months is going to races and seeing that even when I have been grovelling along the fans have always been willing me on. Whether with Boulangre or now in Saunier Duval that has been the case and that kind of support is received by very few riders."

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