Joseba Beloki is back on the roads of the Tour de France, two years after his fatal fall down the slopes of the Col de la Rochette, which immediately shattered the hopes of the second-placed at the time. Since then, the three times podium-finisher has not been able to get back to that same level. The accident still haunts him, he told Spanish newspaper Marca.
"The crash is still on my mind because it has left a mark in my life," he said. "Every day, comments or images of that day return. I need to clean my slate because after three podiums at the Tour I don't want to be remembered for that crash."
Beloki has a lot of respect for the Tour de France, which has given him everything, and taken it all away again according to the Spaniard. "That's why I need to be in front again," he explained, "If I succeed, I will have paid homage to myself." For this year's Tour, the 31 year-old has set himself realistic goals. "I want to stay close to Heras [the team's leader for GC - ed.] and, if I can, use the opportunities that will unfold. If I can stay with Heras, I could also be in front in the general classification."
Although the Liberty Seguros rider is hopeful that his form will return, last season's experiences have made him cautious. "I've never felt this good since I had the accident. I really want to get my back number now, which wasn't the case at, let's say, the Giro. But last year before the Vuelta, I also felt good and my form lasted only ten days."