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Team CSC stays aggressive

WASQUEHAL, France – Bobby Julich’s CSC team went on the attack again Tuesday in search of the 2004 Tour de France’s yellow jersey.Jens Voigt of Germany attacked the 185-man peloton at the start of the race’s third stage in Waterloo, Belgium, along with Belgian Bram de Groot (Rabobank). The pair worked together for an advantage of more than six minutes at one point, making Voigt the temporary “leader on the road.”Waiting along the 210-kilometer stage to Wasquehal, France, were two sections of cobbled roads that also are part of the route for the famous one-day spring classic “Hell of the North,” Paris-Roubaix.”Today went as expected,” Julich said afterward. “I knew that since we took a look at the cobblestone sections before the prologue we would have no problems – if luck went our way.”The German/Belgian duo appeared to be up for the challenge on the cobbles. Their breakaway hopes were dashed, however, when the peloton – led by five-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong’s U.S. Postal squad – inevitably reeled in Voigt and de Groot after the first section of “pavé,” or cobble, near Aix-les-Orchies.Fortunately for Team CSC, Julich, Spaniard Carlos Sastre and Italian Ivan Basso – the team’s primarily hopes for a podium spot in Paris – finished with Voigt in the main peloton, five seconds behind stage winner Jean-Patrick Nazon of France (AG2R Prevoyance).”It turned out that I was able to make the front group, but then had to wait for the Basso and Sastre group and help them back to the front,” Julich said.Voigt, meanwhile, kept Team CSC’s streak of “most aggressive rider” designations alive for a third straight day. And with time bonuses earned on the road he’s now third overall, just nine seconds behind Australian Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), the Tour’s new leader.Team CSC is one of the favorites to win today’s 64.5-kilometer team contest against the clock from Cambrai to Arras, in northern France. With a win in the team time trial, Voigt could be wearing the yellow leader’s jersey by day’s end.Julich and Sastre – 11th and 15th in the individual classification, trailing by 26 and 29 seconds, respectively – are poised to assume high places, too.”We are really looking forward to the TTT tomorrow and hope that Jens is as strong as he has been in the last few days,” Julich said. “Of course we have to have good luck, but I know that we will be in for a shot at the win, and I would be disappointed if we were out of the top three.”For more on Julich visit his Web site: http://www.bobbyjulich.com.


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