Manuel Beltran and Jose Luis Carrasco (Sport-Bike) on the way to winning stage 6 of the Andalucia Bike Race. It was snowing up in the Jaén mountains....
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Road pros visit top of podium in mountain bike stage race
Road pros Manuel "Triki" Beltran Martinez and Jose Luis Carrasco Gamiz (Sport-Bike) won the final two stages of the Andalucia Bike Race, a mountain bike stage race in Spain this week.
Both road pros are local to Jaén, where the race was happening on Thursday and Friday. Thursday's 63km stage 5 in Eastern Jaén was the shortest of the brand new, six-day event while Friday's 82km stage 6 in Southern Jaén was run in challenging conditions, through snow showers and cold weather in the mountains.
Beltran, 39, has been part of the international road cycling scene for well over a decade. He became known to many cycling fans as a rider on the US Postal Service team in 2003 and 2004 and as a rider on the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team in 2005 and 2006. He has also ridden for Mapei, Banesto, Mapei, Team Coast and Liquigas
He won stage 19 of the 1997 Giro d'Italia. He rode as a domestique for racers like Lance Armstrong in several Tours de France and Giri d'Italia.
Beltran tested positive for EPO after the first stage of the Tour de France in 2008. He was suspended for two years, and became eligible to race again in the summer of 2010. He was riding for Liquigas at the time of his positive doping test.
Beltran's partner in the two-person team event is Carrasco. The 28-year-old most recently rode for Andalucía Cajasur. won mountains classification at 2005 Tirreno-Adriatico.
Retired pro Roberto Heras, who won the Vuelta a Espana four times, but was disqualified from a fourth win due to doping with EPO, was also in the race. As of the end of stage 5, he was in 15th overall in the men's category along with his teammate Marcos Serrano, but he was not listed as a finisher of the final stage.