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Wednesday’s EuroFile: Where to Beloki? Astarloza will defend Down Under; Gallopin joins CSC

Former ONCE star Joseba Beloki's plans for next year are still up in theair, after an intense round of negotiations with the new Stayer team collapsedTuesday.The Spanish sports daily Marca reported Wednesday that Belokiand his attorneys failed to reach final agreement with the new Spanish/Italianroad team after ten days of discussions. The 30-year-old Spaniard and hislawyer Pablo Arregui closed off negotiations with the team and left Italydisappointed after failing to gain assurances on many of his financialand staffing demands.The team was reportedly unable to make salary guarantees that

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By VeloNews Interactive, With wire services

Beloki on that fateful day in July

Beloki on that fateful day in July

Photo: AFP (file photo)

Former ONCE star Joseba Beloki’s plans for next year are still up in theair, after an intense round of negotiations with the new Stayer team collapsedTuesday.The Spanish sports daily Marca reported Wednesday that Belokiand his attorneys failed to reach final agreement with the new Spanish/Italianroad team after ten days of discussions. The 30-year-old Spaniard and hislawyer Pablo Arregui closed off negotiations with the team and left Italydisappointed after failing to gain assurances on many of his financialand staffing demands.The team was reportedly unable to make salary guarantees that Belokirequired, nor could officials commit to signing an array of other ridersthe former Tour runner-up wanted to fill out the squad. Beloki reportedlywanted a team that included Mikel Pradera, David Plaza and his brotherGorka, as well as several others, before committing to Stayer.”I think that the team’s offer was a good deal for me, less good forother people,” Beloki told Marca. “Everyone will benefit in theend because I made my decision taking everything into consideration.”The question now is which team may sign the man who – until his disastrouscrash – posed a serious threat to Lance Armstrong’s successful attemptto lock-up his fifth successive Tour de France victory this year. Duringnegotiations, Beloki denied reports that the Saeco team had made an offer.The German Gerolsteiner squad has also reportedly been considering an offer.The Swiss-based Phonak squad had expressed an interest in signing Belokiearlier in the year, but has since signed both Tyler Hamilton and OscarSevilla.
Reuters Astarloza will defend Tour Down Under title
Organizers of Australia’s Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under have announced the names of six of the twelve teams planning to contest the event from January 20 to 25.

Heading the list is AG2R-Prevoyance, which has confirmed that 2003 champion, Mikel Astarloza will return to defend his title. The race will also serve as an early season test for the new Liberty Seguros (formerly ONCE) team from Spain, Italy’s Ceramiche Panaria and French teams FDJeux.com and Credit Agricole, as well as the UniSA team made up of local South Australian riders.

“This year after 735 kilometers and six days of racing the outcome of the Tour was decided in the final, frantic sprint across the finish line,” said race director, Mike Turtur. “It was an amazing way for the race to finish and I’m sure in 2004 the riders will again put on a spectacular show for the hundreds of thousands of fans who line the roads to cheer them on.”

For 23-year-old Astarloza and his teammates the final stage was a nail biter indeed. Astarloza had claimed the leader’s yellow jersey after Stage Five when officials resorted to a count-back of previous stage places to break the a dead lock with Denmark’s Lennie Kristensen (CSC).

“Seven riders were within nine seconds of his lead on the final day and this generated some of the most hotly contested sprinting in the history of the event,” said Turtur.

Astarloza will be joined in Australia by three-time Tour de France stage victor and eight time Estonian champion Jaan Kirsipuu who has notched up more than 100 victories in his 11 years as a professional. Spanish time trial Champion Inigo Chaurreau will also line up with AG2R – Prevoyance.

“Jaan Kirsipuu was here for the very first race in 1999 and since then has used Australia to launch each racing season,” said Turtur.

“We expect to confirm the team line ups and the other six teams for the race in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “It will be another world class field for the 2004 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under which promises to be a great race.”

Pevenage will be there in ‘04
Jan Ullrich’s out-of-favor mentor Rudi Pevenage will still be at the German’s side next season despite being prevented from joining T-Mobile with the Olympic champion.

Pevenage, left out in the cold by the team formerly called Telekom after a falling out with team manager Walter Godefroot, insisted Wednesday he would still have a part to play in Ullrich’s 2004 campaign.

“I’ll be there at every race in which Jan competes in next year,” Ullrich’s Belgian confidant declared Wednesday.

Telekom’s former sports director followed Ullrich when the cyclist switched stables in September last year after his drugs ban, moving from Telekom to Coast which became Bianchi.

But Pevenage’s intention to continue to play a part in Ullrich’s 2004 campaign produced a lukewarm response from T-Mobile sporting director Mario Kummer.

“He probably won’t find any space in the team car,” Kummer suggested.

Ullrich, 29, plans to kick off next season in February’s Tour of Mallorca, then taking in the Tours of Germany and Switzerland before the Tour de France and Olympics, where he will be defending the gold medal he won in Sydney.
Copyright AFP2003Gallopin joins CSC
Former Bianchi director Alain Gallopin has signed on with Bjarne Riis’sCSC team, L’Equipe reported Tuesday.Gallopin’s move is just the latest in the slow collapse of the Bianchiteam that began when Jan Ullrich signed a deal with T-Mobile. Gallopin,who for a brief time served on the staff of the old Mercury-Viatel team,joins former fakta director Kim Andersen on CSC.Gallopin has a solid reputation as a “rider’s director” with a goodrecord at Francaise des Jeux and Coast. It was during his tenure at Francaisedes Jeux that Gallopin first worked with American Chris Horner. The twothen moved to the Mercury team, but were later fired by team manager JohnWordin.Bettini leads world rankings
With the road season essentially over, UCI word rankings issued thisweek show no changes in the positions of the top 20 (previous ranking inbrackets).
1. (1) Paolo Bettini (Italy) 2,266.75 points
2. (2) Erik Zabel (Germany) 2,087.75
3. (3) Alessandro Petacchi (Italy) 1,989.00
4. (4) Gilberto Simoni (Italy) 1,715.00
5. (5) Davide Rebellin (Italy) 1,656.00
6. (6) Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) 1,640.50
7. (7) Alejandro Valverde (Spain) 1,611.00
8. (8) Lance Armstrong (U.S.) 1,521.00
9. (9) Michael Boogerd (Netherlands) 1,441.00
10. (10) Iban Mayo (Spain) 1,425.00
11. (11) Tyler Hamilton (U.S.) 1,363.20
12. (12) Danilo Di Luca (Italy) 1,344.00
13. (13) Francesco Casagrande (Italy) 1,322.00
14. (14) Dario Frigo (Italy) 1,265.00
15. (15) Jan Ullrich (Germany) 1,258.00
16. (16) Mirko Celestino (Italy) 1,183.00
17. (17) Isidro Nozal (Spain) 1,150.00
18. (18) Peter van Petegem (Belgium) 1,123.00
19. (19) Francisco Mancebo (Spain) 1,121.00
20. (20) David Millar (Britain) 1,092.00