Beloki the Baker!
The long running Joseba Beloki transfer soap is finally over.
The rider has signed a two year deal with Jean René Bernaudeau’s Brioches La
Boulangère team. The 30 year old, who has been on the podium of the Tour de
France three times in four years, will bring with him his brother, Gorka.
Mikel Pradera is also expected to sign for the team within the next 24 hours,
according to Beloki’s lawyer Pablo Arregui, who will be holding an official
press conference tomorrow.
The “Baker Boys” were not on most commentators' lists of likely candidates
for the signature of the Basque rider, and with his signing the team roster next
year will be:
Walter Bénéteau (Fra), Joseba Beloki (Spa), Gorka Beloki (Spa), Franck Bouyer
(Fra), Anthony Charteau (Fra), Sébastien Chavanel (Fra), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra),
Anthony Geslin (Fra), Maryan Hary (Fra), Christophe Kern (Fra), Rony Martias (Fra),
Franck Renier (Fra), Didier Rous (Fra), Thomas Voeckler (Fra), Jerome Pineau,
Laurent Lefèvre (Fra), Mickaël Pichon (Fra), Mathieu Sprick (Fra), Alexandre
Naulleau (Fra), Mikel Pradera (Spa).
La Boulangère had a successful season in 2003 starting 27th in the UCI teams
rankings and finishing 19th. Although outside the automatically qualifying teams
for the Tour de France, it is almost certain that the French team will get an
invite to the 2004 Tour de France which is Beloki’s main aim for next season.
Up until today the completely French roster of the team has been a mixture of
experienced pros - Walter Bénéteau, Franck Bouyer, Didier Rous - and young guns
- Sylvain and Sébastien Chavanel, Maryan Hary and Jerome Pineau.
"Mimo" Sylvain Chavanel is a great prospect who has lived up to his potential
so far. He had another great season in 2003, winning the Tour du Haut Var and
the time trial stage of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe et Pays de la Loire; a
genuine Tour prospect who has the opportunity to learn from a podium placed
rider - seems like an ideal combination, or possibly a marriage from hell.
Certainly it is a “baker's dozen” move by the Brioches La Boulangère team, a
team renowned for its hard work and determination and refusal to give up. It is
certainly a coup for the “Baker Boys” if Beloki gets into yellow - public
interest in France will be animated. The prospect of Beloki and Chavanel working
together could be the story of 2004.
Team manager Jean René Bernaudeau is most famous for his support of Bernard
Hinault during “the Badgers” glory years in the Tour de France. The team has the
reputation of being one of the “cleanest” in the sport. See more about Beloki in
Tick's Blicks below.
Compulsory Two-Year Ban for Doping May Go by the Athens Olympics
The compulsory two-year ban for a doping offense, which is part of the global
anti-doping code of the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, could be replaced by a
system where offenses are looked at on a case-by-case basis by the 2004
News of a possible relaxation of the two-year rule came at a conference in
Basel yesterday where WADA presented a paper to medical representatives of
sports bodies involved in Olympic team events.
The move comes as a surprise as WADA had insisted on the set ban only last
March when the global anti-doping code was agreed by over 1000 delegates
representing sports organizations and 73 national governments in Copenhagen.
Despite reservations being expressed by the Cycling Federation, UCI, and
football’s ruling body, FIFA, the new 53-page code was passed unanimously.
However, since then Graf-Baumann has carried out a study of 184 doping cases
that arose between 1998 and 2002 and found that variable penalties, from a
verbal warning to a four-year ban, were imposed.
“The conclusion was that individual cases and their punishment by the
sporting bodies’ disciplinary committees took place in the same way as a
criminal case in a constitutional state,” said the German.
Belgium to name and shame drug stars
123 Belgian sportsmen and women who failed random drugs tests during the
first nine months of this year are set to be publicly named and shamed.
Flemish Sports Minister Marino Keulen intends to post the names of all
sportsmen and women who tested positive for drugs this year on a ministerial
The move comes after a distinct marked upswing in the number of drugs cases
discovered this year - over seven percent of drug tests proved positive in 2004,
compared to just three percent last year.
Testing authorities are linking the higher figures to an increase in the
number of checks and their more targeted nature. Fewer checks are also being
Cycling has the worst number of culprits with 13 percent of those
tested found to be taking illegal substances.
Jockeys are also on the blacklist with several refusing to be tested at
recent race meets at Ostend and Waregem.
Volleyball and canoeing were found to be among the cleanest sports in
Kelme in Trouble
The Kelme Cycling team faced another financial set back last week when they
received a tax bill for 762,101.80 euros. Kelme Manager Joan Mas explained that
is was a complicated tax problem but assured that the “team was not in danger.”
The team does not agree with the tax bill, however, and the teams bank
accounts have been frozen. This adds further problems to the team who already
are two months in arrears with the riders wages - however the team have a
history of pulling themselves out of financial problems.
Javier Pascual Llorente - Suspended
More bad news for Kelme, Pascual Javier Llorente, the only rider to have been
found positive for EPO in this years Tour de France, is facing an 18 month
suspension according to Kelme manager Joan Mas.
"The rider received the notification of his sanction about 10 days ago and
has decided to resort to the Court of Sport Arbitration (TAS). Their lawyer and
he will work together to try to demonstrate his innocence. If his sanction is
confirmed the team's management will decide whether he will stay or not."
According to the UCI, Llorente tested positive after the 12th stage of the
Tour de France, an ITT over 47 kms. between Gaillac and Cap Decouverte, which
was won by Jan Ullrich. The second test confirmed the result.
Javier Pascual Llorente has always maintained his innocence. Previously in
2003 he had won the Vuelta a Andalucía and Murcia.
Cycling: Cooke faces Dutch challenge
Read the original article
here. By Andy
Howell, The Western Mail
Photo by Scott Schaffrick.
Cooke is gearing up for one of her biggest challenges yet - a head-to-head with
women's cycling's new world hour record-holder.
The one-off 3,000m pursuit challenge between Welsh star Cooke - recent winner
of the World Cup - and Leontien Ziljaard van Moorsel will mark the opening of
Wales National Velodrome on Friday.
Flying Dutchwoman van Moorsel is one of the sport's greats and set a world
best last month, covering a staggering 46.065km (nearly 29 miles) in an hour at
the Olympic Velodrome in Mexico City.
The showdown will be Cooke's first appearance on the track since the 2002
Commonwealth Games, and the odds will be stacked against her as van Moorsel has
been individual pursuit world champion for the past three years.
All Cooke's efforts this year have been on the road and she will be the rank
outsider on the £7m track, which organisers predict is as fast as the Sydney
"Leontien has been world champion for the last few years so it is going to be
very hard," said Cooke, now back in Wales after being based in Italy during the
"I am the underdog but will be doing the best I can. It is out of season for
both of us so perhaps I can catch her off-guard."
Multi-world and Olympic champion van Moorsel, now 33, prepared for a year for
her world record attempt.
She won her first world championship in Stuttgart 12 years ago and is the
Olympic road-race and individual pursuit champion.
Van Moorsel is one of a host of world champions competing at Newport in the
European Derny championships on Friday and the British Cycling Gala meeting,
incorporating the City of Cardiff Grand Prix on Saturday.
Bradley Wiggins, Britain's recently-crowned world individual pursuit
champion, bids to become European Derny champion where competitors ride behind a
moped at speeds of up to 45mph before the pacer pulls off the track.
Great Britain's Olympic and world sprint medallists Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean,
Rob Hayles and Jamie Staff, Switzerland's Marco Villa and Franco Marvulli and
French stars Franck Perque and Jerome Neuville are among those in action.
Welsh-based Swede Magnus Backstedt, a stage winner in the Tour de France, and
Wales' former British road-race champion Julian Winn will also compete.
The Newport International Pursuit Challenge is one of the highlights of the
opening meeting at the Velodrome, which starts at 6.45pm.
By Tick of Cycling4Fans.com
Nov. 2003--Well, Joseba Beloki sure pulled off THE surprise of the off-season!
After the Stayer deal fell through, I was ready to put my money on his return to
Manny Saiz. Then with the announcement that he had signed with a foreign team, I
thought I had to be CSC -- Riis still had slots open and could used such a
viable TdF podium candidate. But then, the surprise announcement -- Brioches les
Boulangeries! First I had to figure out how to pronounce it, then how to write
it! Are they even GS1? Yes, they finished the year as 19th. Well, they can rest
assured of their wild-card invitation to the TdF next year! A French team with
such a contender? No problem!
There could be just one little problem -- Beloki's horrible crash in the
Tour, which we can probably all still envision. He was seriously injured, with
many bones broken. Can he come back to the same form he was in? Can all the
physical damage be healed sufficiently to propel him back to the top? And is
there not the possibility that there will always be that little voice in his
head saying "Watch out! Slow down!" Will that little bit of fear remain with him
and handicap him? No one knows at this point.
It is still hard to figure out why he wanted to leave Manny Saiz even after
knowing that the team had secured a new sponsor and would continue in 2004. No
doubt it was the old "personality conflicts" problem, or perhaps the equally old
"I needed a change of scenery".......But why does a rider who has the potential
to do so well take such a gamble? Why not stick with a sure thing? Why risk
everything on finding a new team, especially so late in the season, when most
teams have their rosters full and their plans already made for the coming
Presumably Stayer will now disappear from the cycling scene, before it even
really got started. It was great to see another firm expressing interest in
sponsoring a cycling team -- God knows there are few enough of them around --
but it would have been a lot better if it had been a financially stable offer.
Speaking of financially unstable teams who can't find sponsors, Team Bianchi
has found a way back into the headlines. After the Bild newspaper reported that
poor Jan hadn't been paid since August, Bianchi came back to say it was all his
own fault. If he had been a good boy and stayed with dear sweet Bianchi, he
would have gotten paid and all his teammates would have had jobs for next year
and the team would have survived......of course, they're not saying where all
this money would have come from!
Sure, it's possible that if Ullrich had stayed with the team, they might have
finally come up with a new sponsor, but, please, let's be realistic! Bianchi
said they would take him to court for breaking his contract and finally Ullrich
put it all in the hands of his attorneys. Almost instantly Bianchi starts
talking about a quick out-of-court settlement. (Can it be that they haven't paid
him because they didn't have the money to do it?) And now Rudy Pevenage admits
he has left the team, too, and doesn't expect it to continue .... I wonder when
he last got paid!
Still speaking of Bianchi -- some riders have found new teams and will keep
on riding. At least one has found a new team, but won't keep on riding. Raphael
Schweda, at the tender age of 27, has announced his retirement as a rider but
will continue in the sport: as manager of the German GSIII Team Winfix-Techem.
When I think of how many athletes concentrate solely on their sport and how
long they can keep on "playing", I find it great that Schweda is willing to take
this step and secure himself a life after sport. And it is all the more
remarkable when one learns that he is just finishing up his college degree in
Sports Management. Combining studying and working is one of the more difficult
things to do.
Sure his fans are sad that he will no longer be riding, but that is
short-sighted. Raphael Schweda is to be congratulated for knowing what is
important and acting on it, and Winfix-Techem is to be congratulated for giving
him this chance. Since the team plans to turn GS II in 2005, this will only
increase the possibilities for Schweda.
Radio Station Chain CEO Addresses Anti-Cyclist messages
The radio station corporation Clear Channel has been having to deal with
outrage, disappearing local sponsors and Federal Communication Commission (FCC)
inquiries over four of their radio stations' disc jockeys discussing methods for
harming cyclists on their radio programs. There are various places on Internet
that have information on the specific incidents, one is the North Carolina
Raleigh Area Triathletes. The CEO
of Clear Channel met last week with cycling organization representatives and
issued a letter to the Executive Director of the
League of American Bicyclists,
which you can read by clicking their link above.
US Senate Passes School Cycling Route Legislation
Courtesy America Bikes--Moving closer
to a new federal transportation bill, the US Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee passed their TEA-3 bill on November 12. During deliberations, an
amendment raised funding for Safe Routes to School from $50 million to $70
million a year. While in the opinion of America Bikes the funding is too low
(they prefer the House proposal of $250 million a year), it's a step in the
right direction. The bill also keeps the Transportation Enhancements program
intact, with no new categories. The landslide vote of confidence for
Enhancements in the House in September surely helped to dissuade any attacks on
the program. Other programs important to bicycling, including CMAQ, Scenic
Byways and Rec Trails are also continued in the Senate bill.
The bigger proposal asking from the bicycle community, including $250 million
a year for Safe Routes to School and language requiring that all new road
projects adequately accommodate bicycling and walking, did not gain adequate
support. Nearly 300 amendments were drafted, but only those that had strong
bi-partisan support stood a chance of passing, so many amendments including
several of America Bikes were not presented.
In addition to raising funding by $20 million a year, the successful Safe
Routes amendment also solved other problems in the language. The Senate bill now
allows projects on any public road, secondary schools are eligible and the
project area was broadened from one to two miles. America Bikes thanks advocates
from key states who helped us quietly move this amendment forward.
While the Senate bill passed through committee quickly, the bill did not
include formulas on how money will be divided between states, and it sidestepped
several environmental questions. These issues promise to be very contentious
when the bill comes up before the full Senate. Chairman Inhofe (R-OK) said today
the bill will be one of the first orders of business when Congress reconvenes in
January. The bill calls for spending $255 billion over six years, but the
Finance Committee must still decide how to raise that money. The Banking
Committee has yet to draft the transit portion of the bill, so today's
Environment and Public Works Committee language is only one piece of a
A draft bill from the House of Representatives is expected within the next
week, and hopes are it will contain a higher level of funding for Safe Routes to
School, since ranking member James Oberstar (D-MN) is the program's strongest
Members of Congress will head home for the Christmas break sometime soon, so
if this is an issue you would like to support, plan on talking to them over the
next couple of months.
In other good news today, Interbike (the bicycle industry trade show)
announced that a new badge fee instituted at the October event in Las Vegas
raised $50,000 to help continue the America Bikes campaign. Together, the bike
industry, advocates and the bicycling community are making real progress in
Congress. For more information on these issues, visit