Julich gears up for eighth Tour | PostIndependent.com

Julich gears up for eighth Tour

G. Sean KellyGSPI Sports Editor
AP File PhotoAP File PhotoBobby Julich, of the U.S., pedals in the last meters of the 19th stage of the Tour de France cycling race, a 34.18-mile individual time trial around Besancon in eastern France on July 24. Julich placed fifth in the stage. Julich will again race for Team CSC at this years Tour de France, which starts Saturday.

The international Super Bowl of cycling starts Saturday, and Glenwood Springs, once again, will have one of its own in the field.Bobby Julich, a 1990 graduate of Glenwood Springs High School, will be on the pedals Saturday when the 92nd Tour de France prologue stage, a 19-kilometer individual time trial, kicks off from Fromentine, France.Julich is no newcomer to the Tour de France, with seven Tours under his belt. He competed in his first Tour in 1997 and took third place in 1998. Battling injuries and team chemistry, Julich’s career went into a bit of a slump compared to his 1998 success, however, until he hooked up with Team CSC last season.

Julich posted nine top-five finishes in major races in 2004, including a bronze medal in the individual time trial at the Summer Olympics in Athens.But the Tour was not one of his individual highlights of 2004. He had exceptional moments both individually and in support of CSC teammate Ivan Basso, but crashed three times, one of which resulted in what turned out to be a broken wrist.”Suffering on the bike I can deal with, but this Tour has taken me to a totally different level of suffering in terms of injury – and then trying to race as well,” Julich said after the 2004 Tour ended.He did finish the Tour, despite the broken wrist, and helped Basso to a third-place Tour finish. He also rallied for a fifth-place finish in the final time trial.

And, obviously, he recovered in plenty of time for the Olympics.Julich carried his considerable 2004 momentum into the 2005 season.So far this year Julich has top-10 general classification finishes in five stage races. He won the Criterium International and also became the first American ever to win the prestigious eight-stage Paris-Nice race in March.”I had goose bumps all over my body during the final part of the (last) stage,” said Julich after the race on the CSC Web site. “This is definitely the biggest victory of my career, and a real team effort. I’m deeply grateful for the way my teammates sacrificed themselves for me in this race.”

“Bobby really deserves this victory, and it has been a pleasure to see how the team has supported him,” team director Bjarne Riis said after the race. “We dominated the race, which takes a lot of discipline.”Julich likely will not be the featured rider in the Tour. Instead, he probably will work in a support role during the 21 stages and 2,236 miles. Basso is expected to be the team leader, trying to improve on last year’s podium finish and possibly challenge Lance Armstrong. Other CSC members include Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Giovanni Lombardi, Carlos Sastre, Nicki Sorensen, Jens Voigt, David Zabriskie and Luke Roberts.Outdoor Life Network will have live coverage of the Tour from 6:30-9:30 a.m. (MDT) each day of action. There will also be replays throughout the day and prime-time coverage from 6-9 p.m. To follow action on the Web, go to http://www.letour.com.

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