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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 June, 2004, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Beloki out of Tour
Joseba Beloki
Beloki suffered a horrific crash midway through last year's Tour de France
Spanish cyclist Joseba Beloki will miss this year's Tour de France after leaving his French team.

Beloki and the Brioches La Boulangere team came to a mutual agreement, according to the squad's sporting director Thierry Bricaud.

He also said the 30-year-old was not in peak race condition for cycling's premier event which starts 3 July.

"He's not ready and his contract does not allow him to sign up with another team straight away," said Bricaud.

Beloki is the second major rival to five-time champion Lance Armstrong to pull out in the last three days, following Alexandre Vinokourov's similar decision on Monday.

Armstrong is going for an all-time record sixth consecutive victory this year.

Beloki finished the Tour third in 2000 and 2001 and was runner-up to Armstrong in 2002.

But his race last year ended with a horrific crash on the ninth stage suffering from multiple fractures.

Beloki had been in second place overall, trailing Armstrong by just 40 seconds, at the start of the 184.5-km (114.4-mile) stage from Bourg d'Oisans to Gap nearly midway through the three-week race.

The Texan went on to win the Tour for a record-tying fifth straight time.




SEE ALSO
Beloki slams medicine ban
04 Jun 04  |  Cycling



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