Julich grinds out time trial | PostIndependent.com

Julich grinds out time trial

L’ALPE D’HUEZ, France – Bobby Julich, nursing an injured wrist, performed surprisingly well Wednesday, climbing cycling’s most famous mountain in a respectable 44 minutes, 23 seconds for 42nd place. It was a respectable effort, indeed, only about two minutes slower than some of the very best on the stage – except for Lance Armstrong, of course, whose time of 39:41 was untouchable even by the likes of former world time trial champion and Tour winner Jan Ullrich.It’s a sign, too, that Julich, who rides for Team CSC, has recovered substantially from his freak accident on Sunday. With much of the swelling in his wrist now gone, he says, control of his bike has visibly improved. “It’s still so painful. But it’s a lot better than it was. I can move my fingers; I can squeeze the brake,” he told a reporter before Wednesday’s time trial. “I think I can have a kind of rest day, if I need to take it, on the L’Alpe d’Huez.”Now the Glenwood Springs High School graduate is looking forward to riding all out again in support of his leader, Italian Ivan Basso, on the Tour’s final alpine stage today. And he’d like to help CSC regain the lead in the team classification, now held by Ullrich’s T-Mobile squad.”I need to be strong for those two days in the Alps to support Ivan,” said Julich, 32. “By that time, hopefully, my arm will be better and I’ll go for the time trial at the end.”Basso, meanwhile, visibly struggled up the famous climb to l’Alpe d’Huez Wednesday, ultimately losing two minutes and 23 seconds to Armstrong. While Basso hung on to second place overall, now 3:48 back, the young Italian now has Ullrich’s teammate, German national champion Andreas Kloden, breathing down his neck for third place, just 1:15 behind.”I normally ride better, but for some reason I didn’t feel good,” said Basso, who set off two minutes before Armstrong and was caught by the Texan with less than four kilometers to go. “But the Ivan Basso the world saw a few days ago will be back tomorrow.” Today’s 126.8-mile stage from Bourg-d’Oisans north through the heart of the Alps to Le Grand-Bornand takes the riders over some of the most famous cols in cycling history. Expect T-Mobile’s Ullrich and Kloden to go ballistic in a last-ditch effort to distance Basso, whose second place overall will be tough to keep.”I continue to believe we have reason for optimism regarding tomorrow’s stage, which looks like it might be the toughest in the Tour so far,” said Bjarne Riis, Team CSC’s director.For more on Julich, visit his Web site: http://www.bobbyjulich.com.

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