.. and the price of being positive
By Andrew Hood
Julich season over after pulling plug at Benelux
Bobby Julich’s season is likely over after the veteran American didn’t start the 185km third stage at the Eneco Benelux Tour on Saturday.
Team CSC officials said the defending champion has been struggling with his form since coming back from a broken wrist suffered in the first time trial of the 2006 Tour de France.
“You could see he was empty both in the head and in the body and he was afraid of getting caught up in a crash and decided it was just better to go home and prepare for next season,” Team CSC sport director Tristan Hoffman told VeloNews. “We didn’t expect him back so fast from his crash at the Tour and he raced the Tour of Germany, so we respect his decision.”
Hoffman said Julich, 34, was struggling to keep pace in the crash-laden Benelux tour, with his legs feeling good one instant then turning for the worse in another. Rather than risk another crash or injury, the team agreed it was better for Julich to abandon.
“It’s not like he has a lot of racing left anyway. This is his last race in Europe for the season,” Hoffman said. “For the moment, his season is over. I think he made a good decision. Bobby knows his body very well.”
Hoffman said there’s an outside chance Julich might race in the U.S. national championships next month, but for now, he likely won’t race again in Europe.
Julich is expected to travel to Nice, France, and prepare for his return to the United States. His wife is expected to give birth to the couple’s second child in the coming weeks.
Last year, the Benelux victory capped a brilliant, six-win 2005 season. He also claimed overall victory at Paris-Nice and the Criterium International in his best campaign since finishing third overall in the 1998 Tour de France.
Julich won the opening prologue of Paris-Nice in March and third overall in the Tour of California. He later helped Ivan Basso win the Giro d’Italia and crashed out of the Tour with a broken wrist after falling early in the first time trial. He returned to action earlier this month and completed the Tour of Germany ahead of the Benelux tour.
Moncoutie doubtful for Vuelta
French rider David Moncoutie, who is supposed to be the team leader for Cofidis at next weekend’s Vuelta a España, might not race again this season after suffering from chronic tendonitis.
Moncoutie, 31, abandoned Thursday’s third stage of the Tour of Limousin in France with intense pain in his right knee and the team is unsure whether their star attacker will be able to make the Vuelta start next Saturday in Málaga.
“We still haven’t decided if it’s the best thing for David to put an end to his season,” said Cofidis director Francis Van Londersele. “After six weeks of rest, the return to training agitated the tendon. It’s a hard blow for the team because he’s always a rider the team can count on.”
Moncoutie crashed in the second stage of the Criterium International and required surgery on his right knee ahead of the Tour de France.
Bertagnolli, Roche leaving Cofidis
Italian rider Leonardo Bertagnolli and Nicolas Roche are both leaving Cofidis at the end of the 2006 season. Bertagnolli, 28, joined Cofidis in 2005 and won the Tour du Haut-Var this spring, but has not revealed which team he’ll be joining next season.
Roche, meanwhile, signed a two-year deal with the Credit Agricole team on Saturday. The 22-year-old has been with Cofidis since turning professional last year. His best finish this season was a fourth place in the Paris-Correze race.
His father Stephen Roche, 46, won the Triple Crown of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stage races, and the world cycling championship in 1987.
Agence France Presse Food for thought
Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper has estimated that Floyd Landis could expect to lose as much as $10 million over the next year if he fails in his effort to reverse the positive test result from a urine sample submitted after his epic Stage 17 ride to Morzine.
The paper based its figures on the following estimates:$1.9 million annual salary and bonuses$3.8 to $7.6 million a year in endorsements$38,000 to $95,000 per personal appearance$38,000 to $48,000 per race in subsequent seasons$1-2 million for the rights to a ghosted autobiography