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92nd Tour de France - July 2-24, 2005

An interview with Bobby Julich, July 5, 2005

Renaissance man

Bobby Julich heads into this year’s Tour de France on the back of the best early season of his career. The CSC rider built on his return to form in 2004, winning Paris-Nice and Criterium International, and performing strongly in a number of other events. Before the Tour’s start in Fromentine, the 33 year old American spoke to Cyclingnews’ Shane Stokes

Contented at CSC.
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
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Bobby Julich has several aims for this Tour de France; chief of these is to help CSC team leader Ivan Basso win overall, but a stage victory in the team time trial and, on a personal level, wearing the yellow jersey, are also things he’d like to achieve. It’s been a long time since Julich has been this close to the pointy end of proceedings in this race and he’s savouring the moment

Cyclingnews: There are less than 24 hours to go to the start of the Tour de France - I guess things must be pretty hectic there?

Bobby Julich: Yeah, today was crazy. We left at 9.15am for training, we had the medical test, the team presentation, and we had to train of course. Then we had to get a massage, eat, and we still have to eat dinner. It's been a craaazy day.

CN: You went back to the US for a while; you rode the nationals and then the Tour of Switzerland. How did that all go?

BJ: I definitely needed a break. I took May pretty darn easy. June was definitely just about getting everything rolling again, so hopefully I will be good in July, August and maybe even into September. I definitely needed to take that break.

Two words - yeah yeah!
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
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CN: You were 32nd overall in Switzerland. Did you have your foot off the gas in that race, deliberately, or the case of needing to build up your form again?

BJ: Yeah, I really had no objectives. I didn't even pay attention to where I was, it was more a case of paying attention to Frank Schleck, who was the leader at the race. It was good for Jens and I to be there and support him the way he supported us in various races in the past.

CN: How have you felt the past couple of weeks, since Switzerland?

BJ: I have definitely felt better. A lot better actually, mentally and physically. I needed to blow out the pipes a little in Switzerland, have some good recovery, and now we will see tomorrow. But I feel good.

CN: Have you made any comparisons between your condition last year, and this year? I mean, have you done any lab tests, etc?

At this year's Criterium International
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
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BJ: No, I don't do that any more. I don't live in the past and I don't live in the future; I just live in the present. Those comparisons just make you nervous. This approach has worked for me in the last year and a half, so I will just keep with it.

CN: What are your goals for this year's Tour?

BJ: Well, obviously the goal early on is to see where you are and do a good prologue. Then, after that, we would definitely like to win the team time trial. And maybe if I am in a good position, to chase the yellow jersey in the first week. But the most important thing is to stay out of the way of crashes and splits in the field, and take care of our leader Ivan Basso so we can get him to the mountains, his domain, with little or no loss in time.

[Ed. - Julich took 11th in the opening stage, 1.07 minutes behind teammate and stage winner Dave Zabriskie. It was a strong start for Team CSC, with Jens Voight coming in eighth. Julich then finished safely in 61st on stage 2 for a solid start to the Tour]

CN: How does Ivan seem after the Giro?

BJ: He seems really good. He is very relaxed, I think he learned a lot about being a leader at the Giro and I think he can turn that around and be super-strong here.

CN: Do you think he has recovered from that race?

At the Tour de Georgia press conference
Photo ©: Beth Seliga
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BJ: Yes. We planned this from last year, that he was going to do the Giro and the Tour. That is why he didn't race so much in the beginning of the season, that is why he didn't train as much as we did in the beginning of the year. He was fully banking on coming out of the Giro and going to the Tour. He told me that he finished the Giro and didn't even feel tired. He was sick and couldn't really go all out, so he is really looking forward to the Tour.

Ivan is the team number one this year. Last year, we had two guys but this time round it is all for him.

CN: Looking, then, at the overall classification. Who do you see as the big contenders?

BJ: Of course you have to regard Lance as the hands-down favourite. Then you have all the usual suspects, and I think we will see a couple of surprises. I think it will be a very good tour for the Americans - Lance, of course, Leipheimer, Zabriskie, myself, George and Landis. I think we have a very good representation of riders in this Tour. And don’t forgot Chris Horner - he could do well.

CN: Finally, have you looked at goals for the rest of the year?

BJ: Well, you always want to come out of the Tour with good form and I normally do. I am good in the month of August and so I am going to do a lot of ProTour races then. If I come out of that okay, then I will take a little bit of a break and prepare for the World Championships time trial.

But that is so far away; I really need to get through the Tour before I can get serious about thinking about those things.

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