Shorts: Mayo, Beloki, Igor
It’s not a good day for some of the biggest Spanish names as Mayo, Beloki and Gonzalez de Galdeano a
Euskaltel team leader Iban Mayo is a doubt for next week’s Semana Catalana stage race because of a knee problem. The Basque rider has had liquid drained from one of his knees, and has returned to light training after being forced to spend five days off the bike. Like many other riders during the weather-affected start to the season, Mayo has also been hit by flu. – Liberty Seguros have confirmed that Joseba Beloki will not be starting next week’s Semana Catalana. The three-time Tour de France podium finisher has pulled out of his last two races due to illness, which has also limited his training time. Although he is back riding on a turbo trainer, Beloki is not expected to start another race until the Tour of the Basque Country in early April. – Liberty Seguros’ Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is another leading Spanish rider struggling for form. Although prominent during a stage of Paris-Nice last week, Gonzalez de Galdeano has been sent to see a specialist in Madrid in order to find the cause of a long-term malaise that has affected his form since the early part of last season. He is listed among Liberty’s starters for Milan-San Remo, but his place could well go to Australian Aaron Kemps. – Former Kelme and Cafs Baqu rider Ivan Parra has signed to ride for the Colombia-Selle Italia team for the season. Parra had just agreed a deal with the Colombian Orbitel team for the year, but Colombia-Selle Italia boss Gianni Savio stepped in with an offer for the Colombian to return to the Europe after his team were awarded a place in the Giro d’Italia. – Former Ti Raleigh pro Bert Pronk has died at the age of 54. The Dutchman died on Monday night and was being treated for cancer. A pro from 1974-1982, Pronk’s best year was in 1977 when he won the overall titles at the Tour of the Basque Country and Tour of Luxembourg, and finished 12th in the Tour de France. – Landbouwkrediet rider Grgory Habeaux is reported to be improving in Toulon hospital after suffering a skull fracture when in collision with a car while training with team-mate Maxime Monfort on the Cote d’Azur on Saturday. The hospital have said that the young Belgian rider is in a stable condition, and Landbouwkrediet team manager Grard Bulens has said that he has spoken to Habeaux on the phone and expects the rider to be returned to Belgium for further treatment in the coming days. – The organisers of Paris-Brussels and the GP Merckx have confirmed the fusion of their events. Effectively, the fusion means that the GP Merckx time trial is set to disappear, but also that Paris-Brussels will now finish at the Atomium in Brussels, the traditional finish area for the Merckx time trial.