Julich prepares for second week of Tour
Special to the Post Independent
QUIMPER, France ” Bobby Julich is enjoying a rest day at the 2004 Tour de France today knowing he and his teammates have survived ” even encouraged ” some of the toughest bike racing possible.
“If this wasn’t the Tour, I would be out of this race calling it one of the craziest things that I have ever done,” Julich, who grew up in Glenwood Springs, said over the weekend as the race roamed around the windy, hilly roads of Brittany through relentless rains and crosswinds.
“I don’t know what is going on, but this race is crazy this year.”
For Julich’s team, sponsored by the California-based information technology company CSC, the Tour’s first week has been quite a challenge. First of all, relentless rains have led to a rash of crashes. Julich, in his fifth Tour, went down hard Friday in a mass pileup at the end of the sixth stage at Angers, injuring his hip and the lower back. That crash came on the heels of another spill in the Tour’s team time trial two day earlier, in which he said he hit his head “really hard.”
All in all, nearly every rider on Team CSC has hit the tarmac at least once so far in this 91st Tour de France. But all nine riders remain in the race, and the squad leads the race’s team classification well ahead of its main rival, Lance Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service team.
Riders Jakob Piil and Jens Voigt, meanwhile, have each earning honors as the “most aggressive rider.”
Piil holds fifth place overall, 7 minutes and 9 seconds behind the leader, French national champion Thomas Voeckler.
“Sure, we are all banged up, but we will continue to be an aggressive team all the way to Paris,” said Julich, who through thick and thin has maintained a place among the leaders on the Tour’s overall classification.
He has maintained a place among the leaders on the Tour’s overall classification. Julich holds 22nd place overall, 10:35 behind Voeckler.
That’s a mere five seconds behind German Jan Ullrich and exactly a minute behind five-time winner and former teammate Lance Armstrong. Julich’s two Italian teammates, Ivan Basso and Michele Bartoli, another 18 seconds down, are in 28th and 29th places overall, respectively.
Julich actually has been riding conservatively, biding his time well until this Tour finally hits the mountains. Friday comes the first real test: the race’s 197.5km 12th stage from Castelsarrazin, near Toulouse in southern France, to La Mongie, high in the Pyrenees.
“I’m feeling good. And so far this year, I’ve been really good in shorter stage races,” Julich said. “So now, at the Tour it’s my chance to test myself in a longer stage race.”
For more on Julich, his life and career, visit his Web site:
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