Julich eyes the path of retirement | PostIndependent.com

Julich eyes the path of retirement

Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Bobby Julich received some harsh news on Friday when he was not selected for the Team CSC 2007 Tour De France lineup.

But it is not the first time the Glenwood High graduate has been faced with adversity.

The 13-year professional cyclist crashed last year in the Tour, only to bounce back this year as he has done throughout his career.

He crashed in the 1999 Tour, but came back strong in 2000.

In 1996, he was also diagnosed with a heart condition that was causing his heart to beat very fast. Julich was treated successfully for the problem and went on to have one the best years of his career in 1998.

But at age 35, it’s hard to say if Julich will be able to come back again. Although the rider says he is now healthy after dropping out of the Criterium du Dauphine Libere on June 15, Julich said retirement has crossed his mind.

“If I continue to feel like I felt all spring, I think that it would be difficult to continue,” Julich said in an e-mail to the Post Independent on Friday.

Julich’s contract with Team CSC, the Danish squad he joined in 2004 after contemplating retirement, expires this year.

“I spoke with our team boss (Team CSC director Bjarne Riis) a few days ago and he said that he wanted me to stay on the team for next year, but I will have to make that decision later in the year,” Julich said.

Ron Kiefel, a seven-time Tour de France racer, Olympic bronze medalist and member of the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame, said he was surprised and saddened when he heard Julich wasn’t going to be in the 2007 Tour lineup. Kiefel, who lives in the Denver area and recently spoke in Glenwood Springs during the Ride the Rockies bike tour, retired at age 35, Julich’s current age.

“I would imagine he is thinking about it. It’s natural at that age. But it seems like guys are riding later and later these days,” Kiefel said in a phone interview on Friday. “My sense is that he is going down that path. But he was headed down that path a few years ago and he came back to do a lot of great things.”

Julich believes he could be capable of adding highlights to his already distinguished career, which includes finishing third in the Tour in 1998, becoming the first American to win the Paris-Nice in 2005 and winning an Olympic bronze medal in the 2004 time-trial event in Sydney, Australia.

“If I am able to build on the good sensations that I have now and come back and have a good second half of the season, I will be back with the 2008 Olympic Time Trial as my main goal for the season,” he said.

As for this summer, Julich will be on the sidelines for cycling’s biggest event.

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