Spain's Joseba Beloki, whose racing career fizzled out in the wake of the Operación Puerto affair, is set to return to the sport by accepting a role as coach and assistant directeur sportif on the Cafés Baqué under-23 team.
Beloki, who finished on the Tour de France podium on three consecutive occasions, is hoping that the role might lead to a similar position on a top level pro team in the future, but for the moment is relishing the chance to pass on his knowledge and experience to Cafés Baqué’s young guns.
“I’ve always been very passionate about every aspect of cycling, I’ve enjoyed training youngsters and Baqué have given me the chance to do this,” Beloki told El Diario Vasco. “I got the qualifications needed to be a directeur sportif in 2008 and I’ve always been interested in every aspect of training and physiology.”
In his new role, Beloki will assist Cafés Baqué team manager Rubén Gorospe, an ex-pro with Banesto and brother of former Euskaltel boss Julián Gorospe. “I will try to learn all I can,” said Beloki, whose first appearance in the team car will be at a race at Zumaia in the Basque Country on Saturday. “It’s not the same being a director as being a rider. You see things very differently from the car. I’m really
excited about it.”
The riders Beloki will be coaching and managing are all aged between 19 and 21. “There’s a group of 12. When I am able to I will go out training with them. Most of the work I do with them will be focused on the middle part of the season and Tours of Navarra, Bidasoa and Alava.”
Beloki admitted that his long-term goal is to work for a team further up cycling’s hierarchy. “But now is not the moment for that, it’s not the right time because I don’t want to be away from home all day,” explained Beloki, who has two young children. “When the situation is right then we will see. For the moment I just want to get as much experience as I possibly can.”