"Beloki's back!"

Joseba Beloki finished the first Tour de France stage since his famous crash at the Col de la Rochette yesterday, and was pretty happy with how it went. "That was the first time trial I rode in two years, and although it wasn't a parcours for me, it went well especially during the last part. I finished not too far off. I knew this stage was important, and even if it would have been a disaster for me I would have still continued hopeful: just to be on that start ramp was the best." Beloki finished 56th, at 2.05 from the winning Zabriskie.

When asked what he thought about during these first kilometres of the Tour, Beloki replied, "I thought of lot of things. There were times in the past when I thought I'd never make it back to the Tour, so it was a very special day for me. Now I can say 'Joseba Beloki's back at the Tour!' and I do intend to try something, because I would have been the first not to come here if I was in bad shape."

Manolo Saiz, Liberty's team director, is also satisfied with the result of his riders. "The team has a good level, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano ended up in top 10 [10th, at 1.06], Beloki has done well and Heras too [79th, at 2.20]. We came here from a bad performance in the Dauphiné, but we reacted well." When asked about 'the' event of the first stage - Armstrong passing Ullrich - Saiz downplayed it. "It's also good to remember that Ullrich never performed well in the first time trial. The only thing that was visible today is that Armstrong is in top shape, but the Tour is very long and we have to wait and see before drawing further conclusions."

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