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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti


5th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.3

Australia, January 21-26, 2003

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News for January 24, 2003

Bobby Julich: Getting his priorities right

By Nisa Schebella in Adelaide

"It's nice to be in the sunshine instead of shoveling snow," muses Bobby Julich as he works on his tan line at the start of the Glenelg to Hahndorf stage of this year's Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under.

Julich's winter training has been solid, but slightly sporadic and at times unconventional. Eight weeks at altitude in Reno, Nevada, until mid-December before he got nailed with about two metres of snow. Training went from saddle to shovel with the snow shoes coming out for a white Christmas with his growing family.

His third time to Australia, first with Credit Agricole in 2001 and now with the star-studded cast of Team Telekom, the 32 year old American is only looking forward and not back.

"My prime objective for the year is to definitely make the Tour de France team. With so many new signings on the team this year I think that's going to be the objective most of us. With not only Cadel on the team, but Savoldelli, Botero, Nardello and Aerts, it's an all star team. I think it's going to be a very exciting Tour de France this year and I want to make sure that I'm a part of it."

Signing a two year contract with Telekom in 2002 as a support rider, the five-time Tour de France finisher hopes that he can extend his contract for two more years. After that, Julich plans to wind up his professional cycling career and return to live in the United States. In terms of racing, Julich likes the idea of staying on in Europe for another two or three years and then spend a couple of years riding in the US.

"I'd like to give back to the sport and the young riders, helping them develop. I got a lot of support when I was young and I'd like to return the favour. I've got quite a few ideas about what I'd like to do. With Kevin Livingston catching us all by surprise and announcing his retirement, it's made me think more concretely about what I'd like to do after I've finished racing. I'm already putting my feelers out there so when I do retire, I have a job to go to."

A definitive plan makes good sense to this caring and responsible guy. After 15 years on the road being "a vagabond" as he calls himself, to take on a role of a team director or public relations officer doesn't offer much attraction. With a new daughter, Olivia Paris, born September 15 last year, Julich has - and is - working hard to prepare for a more settled family life. He wants to be around to support his wife Angela raising Olivia during those difficult toddler and pre-school years.

Now back to the present: With Wesemann, Evans and Nardello all within 40 seconds of the leader after Stage 4 and Evans slowly closing the gap in the King of the Mountains competition, there is plenty of work to do for the Bobby J at the Tour Down Under.

Arriving in Adelaide two weeks before the race, Julich feels comfortable and well prepared although he shows concern for some of the other riders. "I think a lot of the guys here are going way over their limits in the heat and it can be quite dangerous. The weather is getting warmer and recovery will be hard". With temperatures well over 40 degrees in Adelaide this week you can hardly blame him for his responsible outlook, possibly a product of recently becoming a father.

After Adelaide, Julich and the team head straight back to icy Germany for the 2003 team presentation; he then tracks back to America to bring his girls to Europe to start their nine month stay and begin his European program. "I'll do the Ruta del Sol, Valencia, Paris-Nice, Catalunya, Pays Basque and Fleche Wallone, after that I'm not sure whether it will be into the full preparation for the Tour or take a break."

Sounds like a guy with his priorites in order.

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