Joseba Beloki has been transported from Marseilles to Spain and will undergo
surgery Wednesday morning at the well-known private Basque clinic USP Clínica La
Esperanza. In stage 9 Monday, Beloki broke his right leg near the hip and also
sustained hand and elbow fractures; the elbow fracture will require a further
operation. Dr. Mikel Pradera, head of trauma surgery and orthopedics at La
Esperanza, will perform the surgery and expects to give a press conference
tomorrow in the early afternoon.
Azevedo attending to Beloki
Jäksche remained with Beloki
The general manager of ONCE-Eroski, Pablo Antón, said today that
the ONCE team remaining at the Tour must recover and change its attitude now
that its leader is gone. Antón accompanied Beloki back to Spain today.
“In the Tour, the team has to recover, to get out of its head
that gregario mentality that everybody could see the other day, sticking
together, and some even sacrificing their options,” Antón said, clearly
referring to the admirable performance of Jörg Jäksche and José Azevedo, who
couldn't recoup timewise after stopping when they came upon Beloki and remained
“Starting now, the riders should try to continue completing
their job, although it is difficult, because many things enter the game, such as
the teams classification."
In any event, I would be happy if a Spanish team wins, whichever
that is. In the same way I would like the Tour won by a Spanish rider. We will
see what the circumstances bring; I believe it is a very good group,” Anton
said, speaking of Spanish cyclists in general.
Ode To a Fallen Beloki
By Dario P. Vasquez
We saw what he’d planned,
Climbing the great Alpe,
He’d weakened Lance Armstrong,
Nearly taken his scalp.
This was a new Beloki, a new Tour
No more wheel-sucking anymore,
But as he hit the bitumen,
Any hopes just tore…
He put out his arm,
And shattered his wrist,
The asphalt he kissed.
All opportunities missed.
First on the scene was Manolo Saiz,
As the whole world heard his painful cries,
Nobody had planned his heart wrenching demise,
An underground low after dizzying highs.
He’d come on a bicycle,
Dutiful and strong.
He left in an ambulance,
As Joseba Beloki Dorronoso departed the Tour,
In an Ocana-like state,
I hope we’ll see more,
In 2004 (it will be great!)
All images courtesy of ONCE-Eroski.