By Andrew Hood
Bobby Julich (Team CSC) is scheduled to fly to the United States on Tuesday, where he will race in the Tour of Georgia later this month.
It’s the first time the American has raced in front of the home crowd since 1996 and Julich is expecting a strong race following his impressive spring campaign in Europe.
Julich finished third at Paris-Nice in March and won the final time trial at the Tour of the Basque Country on Friday, his first win in Europe since 1997.
“Anything that happens in Georgia now will be icing on the cake,” Julich said after nipping compatriot Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) by less than one second on the 8.5km rain-slicked course in the hills of northern Spain.
Julich will have a strong Team CSC to support him in the Georgia race. Tour de France stage-winner Jakob Piil and Criterium International winner Jens Voigt will be lining up to help Julich make a run for the overall title.
After the race, Julich and Voigt will retreat to Julich’s home near Reno, Nev., for high-altitude training to prepare for July’s Tour de France.
Armstrong readies for Georgia
Lance Armstrong (USPS) is already in the United States to race in the Tour of Georgia later this month.
The Texan will return to Europe in May to begin his final preparations for a run at a record sixth Tour de France title.
“Lance is now is America and is getting ready to race the Tour of Georgia,” said USPS sport director Johan Bruyneel. “He’ll come back in early May. We’re going to go check out some of the Tour stages, but we haven’t decided yet when we’re going to do it.”
Armstrong is scheduled to race the Tour du Languedoc-Rousillon from May 19-23 and the Criterium du Dauphine Libere in early June.
Paris-Roubaix winner can’t believe his luck
Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt said he still can’t believe he’s the winner of the “Hell of the North.”
The big blonde rider became the first Swede to win the cobble-stoned classic and was in tears at the finish line.
“It’s the biggest day of my life. I’ve got tears in my eyes and I just can’t believe it,” said Backstedt, who edged Tristan Hoffman (CSC) in the velodrome sprint. “I just tried to stay at the front the whole day, stay out of trouble and away from the wind.”
Backstedt was strong all day, marking moves in the decisive moments and slipping away with Johan Museeuw (Quick Step) late in the race.
“This day was mine. Before today, I thought my best achievement was my Tour de France stage victory in Autun in 1998,” said Backstedt. “It was a perfect day. I just had a little scare in the Aremberg trench because it was slippery.” Hammond matches history at PR
Britain’s Roger Hammond, who rides for the Mr Bookmaker team, claimed the best finish of any British rider since Barry Hoban’s third in the early 1970’s.
Hammond said he felt his chance came after he looked into three-time winner Johan Museeuw’s eyes after the Belgian had attacked on the ninth cobblestone section.
“I saw Museeuw attack on section nine and I so I attacked him myself and looked in his eyes and thought OK, I think he knows I’m here today,’ so I attacked again,” Hammond said after taking the podium spot. “So on that sector I thought, ‘yeah I’m in Paris-Roubaix today,’ although I overcooked it a bit on sector nine then sector six I really had a hard time,” he said. “After that I got my feet back on the ground and so I thought I just had to start looking after myself.”
World Cup standings after Paris-Roubaix
1. Steffen Wesemann (G), T-Mobile, , 110pts
2. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, , 100
3. Magnus Backstedt (Swe), Alessio, , 100
4. Leif Hoste (B), Lotto-Domo, , 84
5. Tristan Hoffman (Ned), CSC, , 70
6. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile, , , 70
7. Leon Van Bon (Ned), Lotto-Domo, , 68
8. Peter Van Petegem (B), Lotto-Domo, 58
9. George Hincapie (USA), USPS, , 53
10. Erik Dekker (Ned), Rabobank, , 51
Millar’s Olympic track hopes in limbo
David Millar’s Olympic ambitions have been dented by the decision of Cofidis to temporarily quit all competition, BBC reported.
The Scot, who rides for the French cycling team, was due to race for Great Britain in the team pursuit at the World Cup track event in Manchester over the weekend. But he was forced out after Cofidis, hit by a doping scandal, said they would not race until further notice.
“We respect the decision of his professional team management,” said Team GB performance director David Brailsford. “We remain 100 percent fully supportive of David Millar’s Olympic aspirations.”
Millar could still compete in the team pursuit in Athens as well as the road time-trial, his favorite discipline.
If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write toPhoto Gallery