Team shorts: Beloki, Beltran, Gusev, Sony Ericsson
Joseba Beloki to remain with Liberty Seguros in 2006; Beltran signs for another year at Discovery, w
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Joseba Beloki will stay with Manolo Saiz’s Liberty Seguros-Wurth set-up for 2006. The Spaniard, who had a quiet 2005 season, clearly not fully recovered from his horrific crash in the 2003 Tour de France, will again concentrate on the Vuelta and the Tour – the latter in which the 32 year old Basque has a fantastic record, finishing third in 2000 and 2001, and second in 2002. – Beloki’s fellow Spaniard Manuel Beltran will stay with the Discovery Channel team for the 2006 season, despite having considered hanging up his wheels at the end of this year. The 34 year old has been one of the key members of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France-winning squad since 2003, but after crashes in both the Tour and the Vuelta this year, Beltran will be putting everything into trying to win his home tour in 2006. – Joining Beltran et al at Discovery next season will be Vladimir Gusev from CSC. Gusev, the current Russian time trial champion, will be hoping to build on his good results of this season with the Danish squad, which included 12th place in Sunday’s Paris-Tours. – Giancarlo Ferretti’s new team looks like it will be able to pick up where Fassa Bortolo left off. New sponsor Sony Ericsson is committed as the main sponsor until the end of 2011, reportedly providing eight million euros (£5.5 million/US$9.6 million) in 2006, rising to 11 million euros (£7.5 million/US$13.3 million) in 2007, and 15 million euros (£10.3 million/US$18.1 million) in 2008. It will certainly help ‘Ferron’s’ squad’s chances of taking the 20th and last ProTour place next season, which was left vacant by the withdrawal of Fassa Bartolo. The Unibet.com (MrBookmaker.com in 2005) and Ag2r teams are also in the running for the final ProTour slot, which will be decided on December 12.