By Andrew Hood
Bobby Julich wants another crack at an Olympic medal and has penned a deal to continue with Team CSC through the 2008 season.
The veteran all-rounder signed a one-year contract extension with the Danish team, his home since the 2004 season.
“I signed after the Tour of Germany for one more year,” Julich told VeloNews in an e-mail. “After missing the Tour de France, I found my morale and really enjoyed helping the team. I am extremely proud to be on the best team in the world for the third year in a row.”
Despite missing the 2007 Tour this year after a nasty stomach bug zapped him, Julich hopes the 2008 campaign will see a return to both the Tour and the Summer Olympic Games in China.
Julich, 35, won a bronze medal in Athens in the elite men’s time trials in 2004 and would like nothing better than to earn a ticket to Beijing next summer for a run at another medal.
He’d also like to see a return to the Tour, which he missed only for the second time since 1997 when he fell ill and abandoned during the Dauphiné Libéré in June. He missed out on a slot on the very competitive CSC Tour team.
“I would like to do the Tour de France one last time and make the Olympic team again,” Julich said. “We will discuss the details of my program when we get together for our team building camp in December.”
Six-day season opens in Europe
The European six-day season opens Monday in Amsterdam with a full schedule that will keep fans and racers looking to hone off-season form more than busy.
The dynamic discipline remains popular in Europe with some of the peloton’s biggest names crossing over from the road to make some off-season money and maintain fitness. Riders such as Erik Zabel, Brad Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Tom Steels are all fitting in some six-day racing on their schedules.
Track specialists such as Theo Bos and Teun Mulder will also hit the six-day circuit to build fitness going into the Olympic season.
Established six-day stars such as Bruno Risi, Robert Bartko and Danny Stam continue to dominate the circuit.
Six-Day 2007-08 CalendarOct. 22-27 – AmsterdamOct. 25-30 – Grenoble, FranceNov. 1-6 – Dortmund, GermanyNov. 8-13 – MunichNov. 20-25 – Ghent, BelgiumDec. 11-16 – Zuidlaren, HollandDec. 17-22 – Maastricht, HollandDec. 27-Juan. 1 – ZürichJan. 3-8 – Rotterdam, HollandJan. 10-15 – GermanyJan. 17-22 – Stuttgart, GermanyJan. 24-29 – Berlin, GermanyJan. 31-Feb. 5 – CopenhagenFeb. 7-12 – Hassalt, Belgium
Contract news: Zabel, Velits, Tinkoff
German veteran Erik Zabel looks to be staying put at Milram for the 2008 season despite speculation he might return to T-Mobile for what’s likely the final year of his career. His manager, Gerry Van Gerwen, confirmed that the 37-year-old sprinter will fulfill the final year of his contract with Milram. Earlier this season, Zabel admitted that he used EPO during the 1996 season, but was allowed to keep racing by Milram.
Peter Velits – winner of the U23 world title last month in Stuttgart – has penned a two-year deal to ride for Milram. The team announced that Velits, 22, will be part of a youth movement for the German-Italian squad. Velits won the GP de Fourmies this season while riding for Wiesenhof, which closes at the end of this season. Also signing for two years is Velits’ twin brother, Martin.
Tinkoff Credit Systems has signed three new riders for its 2008 lineup. Two stagiaires – Bernardo Riccio and Alexander Gottfried – earned full-time contracts for next season while 33 year-old veteran Luca Mazzanti will also sign on.