A forgettable day for Liberty Seguros

The Giro's hardest day to date was also the worst for Liberty Seguros-Würth, with Joseba Beloki...

The Giro's hardest day to date was also the worst for Liberty Seguros-Würth, with Joseba Beloki abandoning and GC rider Michele Scarponi conceding almost six minutes to stage winner Ivan Parra (Selle Italia-Colombia). Scarponi's stage result of 26th also saw him drop out of the top 10 on the overall classification, from 7th to 12th place.

Said a disappointed team manager Manolo Saiz: "The general is now bad for us, though still it is necessary to wait until tomorrow, because my hope is that this Giro has many alternatives and I am under the illusion that Scarponi could change this current trend.

Beloki was also hoping to change his current trend of poor form, which has been the case ever since coming back from his accident at the 2003 Tour de France. "It has been my worse day in the Giro, that is clear, because I was already dropped on first climb, which I was not counting on," said Beloki.

"I managed to get back on in the descent", he continued, "but by the second climb, I couldn't hold [the pace] any more. I was suffocating with pain in the legs, and I decided to abandon before starting the Passo Sella, because the race was going fast and I wasn't going anywhere."

Despite yet another setback in his progress, Beloki shows signs of optimism: "Still, it's very early to draw conclusions; I must go home and wait to see if these two weeks of the Giro and the Tour de Romandie has given fruit," he said.

However, Saiz appears to be losing a little patience with him.

"My worry with Joseba Beloki is that he is not ending any race. He needs to do a definitive test. Still, the first thing is that he returns home to take advantage of the competition of these two weeks and, most likely, he will have to race the Tour of Switzerland to see if he has the necessary level to do the Tour [de France]."

As a result of Beloki's withdrawal and Scarponi's slide down the general classification, Saiz added his team will have to change it plans over the next week and a half. "We still have a week's racing, but already we have to play differently. Until today, we were working on a high finish with Scarponi, but now we will have to look for the breakaways," he said.

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