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Tick's Blick 6 April 2004
By Staff
Date: 4/6/2004
Tick's Blick 6 April 2004

By Susan "Tick" Ticknor Westemeyer of Cycling4Fans

The dominant red and white of CSC gave way to T-Mobile's magenta this weekend. "Matze" Kessler surprised everyone -- except himself -- and repeated his win at the GP Miguel Indurain. And not only did Steffen Wesemann "fulfill his life's dream" by winning the Tour of Flanders, T-Mobile also placed two other riders in the top ten, a la CSC.

It was heartbreaking to see Joseba Beloki pulling out of the first stage of the Basque Country Tour. One really has to start wondering whether he will return at all to the sport full-time, much less to the level he was before. His team recently announced that a thorough medical check-up showed no further problems, but obviously, something is still not right.

It is clear that having not raced since last July and not having been able to train much of that time, he has a lot of catching up to do. So much physical damage was done to his body that he simply needs more time than these few months to fully recover. We won't see him on the TdF podium this year, but a stage win or two should be possible, and next year the podium is a sure thing, say some.

But will he even be at the Tour this year, others ask. The German Eurosport commentator wonders if Beloki is slowly beginning to doubt his own ability to come back -- doubts that could prove fatal to his career. The head plays an extremely large -- and important -- role in such cases, and can undo everyting the body builds up. And certainly dropping out of every race during or after the first stage can only have a very negative effect. raises yet another question: why did Beloki even start the Basque race? They suggest that his team was invited only on the condition that Beloki appear ... shades of Cipo and the '03 Vuelta...

The mudslinging on doping continues, with Manzano and Belda swapping more accusations. French authorities have arrested two Cofidis riders -- what a Freudian moment, I wanted to write "Festina" -- and the company Cofidis is publicly speculating whether or not to end its sponsorship because they don't want to be associated with doping. They should look look back to Festina -- this time it's ok to write it -- which had its all-time high public recognition after the '98 Tour -- remember, bad publicity is better than no publicity....

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