Shorts: Tombak, Beloki, Simoni

Janek Tombak has a birthday he'll want to forget, Beloki edges closer to Saunier, Simoni says Lance

CYCLING : CRITERIUM INTERNATIONAL 
BELOKI Joseba ( ESP )
STAGE ETAPE RIT 1
RETHEL - CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERES
Janek Tombak has a birthday he’ll want to forget, Beloki edges closer to Saunier, Simoni says Lance

PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Cofidis’ Janek Tombak, who was forced to retire on Thursday’s stage, apparently has no damage to the tendons in his fingers after getting three of them caught in his front wheel while adjusting his cycle computer sensor, three kilometres into stage 17 between Bourg d’Oisans and Le Grand Bornand. It was necessary, however, for the Estonian to immediately have six stitches while at the roadside – not such a nice present on your 28th birthday. * Joseba Beloki, the Spaniard who crashed in the 2003 Tour de France causing Lance Armstrong to take his off-road adventure through a field, is due to officially announce his signing to the Spanish Saunier Duval squad this afternoon [Friday]. Beloki was due to ride this year’s Tour with the Brioches La Boulangre team, but chose to end his contract with the French formation after disagreements with the team’s directors following his slow recovery from his 2003 Tour accident. Beloki will make his debut with Saunier Duval in August, and ride the Tour of Spain in the team’s canary yellow colours in September. * Gilberto Simoni, the 2003 Tour of Italy champion, was one of the riders in Thursday’s main breakaway on stage 17 but, having been caught, complained – somewhat hypocritically – about the failure of Lance Armstrong’s rivals to attempt to beat the American. “He’s not the ‘Cannibal’,” the Saeco rider said. “He’s more like a piranha: nobody really tries to fight against him.”

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