Bobby’s biggest fan
Prior to this year’s Tour de France, Bernadette Julich dyed her hair. It was a pre-emptive move to prepare her for 23 stress-filled days in July, when her son, Glenwood Springs High School graduate Bobby Julich, zips through the Alps, Pyrenees and French countryside to Paris.”Too many gray hairs from this kid,” said Bernadette, who works for Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs.When it comes to tracking her son’s progress on the roads, Bernadette isn’t someone who relaxes on the couch with remote in hand and a bowl of chips at her side. She tapes the television coverage, checks the Internet and listens to radio interviews – including one recently on 850 KOA-AM out of Denver in which Julich thanked Glenwood Springs for all the support.Bernadette has always been an avid and active fan.During the 2004 Olympics she was tracking Bobby in the individual time trial via the Internet, seeing him move up from 11th, to fifth, to fourth … Then she felt the need to offer some encouragement.”I couldn’t stand it anymore. I ran outside and yelled, ‘You didn’t go all the way to Athens to finish fourth, now get your (butt) up there.'”Julich may have heard the scream, riding to the Olympic bronze medal.The Tour de France is a different beast, however. It’s 21 stages of danger that has mothers around the world fretting for their sons.Last year Julich was involved in three crashes, one of which was a major pileup near the finish line that all the cameras caught on tape.Bernadette’s reaction: “Oh God. And then to see it on TV where everybody fell. I saw Bobby go into this metal barrier and watched them lift him off the ground and carry him into the bus.”Such is the life of a cyclist’s mother. Compared to 2004, this year’s tour has been a fairly easy one for Bernadette. Julich hasn’t been involved in a major crash and he’s riding well for team CSC. Entering today’s stage Julich is 18th overall and has helped teammate Ivan Basso into second place overall, behind only Lance Armstrong.”He’s just enjoying riding and is very happy,” Bernadette said. “The whole thing was to get Ivan into position. Bobby’s just doing his job.”Despite how proud she is of her son, Bernadette won’t be heartbroken when this leg of his job is over for the season.According to Bernadette, Julich’s goal is to finish in the top 20. If all goes well, he could do much better than that with a good shot at moving up in the overall standings in Saturday’s time trial. Then it’s just a mellow ride into Paris on Sunday.”(My) favorite stage is going to be the day in Paris when it’s over, then I can breathe easier because I’ll know that he’s finished.”At least until the next race.
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