Beppu’s Shack move disputed
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beppu’s Shack move disputed

by Ben Atkins at 8:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Japanese rider Fumiyuki Beppu was named in the 26-rider-strong 2010 line-up of Lance Armstrong’s new RadioShack team this weekend. His presence on the list has come as something of a surprise to his current team Skil-Shimano. According to the Dutch registered team, Beppu extended his contract with them a few weeks ago.

The link between Beppu, Armstrong, and new RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel goes back as far as 2005, when the former Japanese champion rode for the Discovery Channel team. He stayed with the US outfit until it folded at the end of 2007 when he signed for Skil-Shimano.

In a post-season dominated by soap opera style contract rumours around stars like Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, a rider like Beppu could easily have gone unnoticed. His team however – one of whose title sponsors is Japanese - is not keen to let one of only two Japanese riders go without a fight.

“We are verifying the facts with the people involved to get this situation clear,” said team manager Iwan Spekenbrink in a statement on the team’s website. “For now we assume that Beppu will be on our team next season.”

So far, the RadioShack team has had things its own way in terms of in-contract riders moving over to its roster. Basque rider Haimar Zubeldia is the latest to leave his deal with Astana early. Whether it manages to successfully sign Beppu remains to be seen.


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