Joseba Beloki has quashed rumours that he will not be starting the Tour de France next month.
The announcement of an agreement between Joseba Beloki and his Brioches La Boulangre team manager, Jean-Ren Bernaudeau, that could allow the Spaniard to leave the French team at the end of this season rather than next has produced much speculation about Brioches’ Tour line-up. With Beloki off form and struggling to control his asthma because the BLB doctor refuses to prescribe the medicine he usually takes, several media outlets have surmised that the Basque is not going to start the Tour for Brioches. Beloki, however, is adamant this is not the case. Speaking to AS at the launch of a book recalling ONCE’s 15 years of sponsorship in Madrid yesterday, Beloki said of his chances of being a contender at the Tour: “I will have to show a lot of resolution, but remember that no one gave Ullrich the slightest chance last year and he almost won the race.” Denying stories that have appeared saying he has refused Brioches’ instructions to take part in the Route du Sud and the Spanish road and time trial champs, Beloki confirmed: “I have got four weeks left. I will ride the Route du Sud, the Spanish championships and then do a training camp in the Alps. I hope all goes well because you need to start the Tour with some motivation.” He did acknowledge he was starting to look towards September’s Vuelta as an alternative objective if the Tour does not pan out as he hopes. Asked about his asthma problems, Beloki said: “I’ve had a lot of them since I was a little kid, but French legislation does not allow the use of the aerosol treatment that I have always taken. That has not been good, but I am not going to give it any more importance.”