By Andrew Hood
Bobby Julich says he wants his season to unfold just like last year when the veteran American rediscovered his winning touch. Julich returned to his best last year, winning a stage at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, finishing third overall at Paris-Nice and taking home an Olympic time trial bronze medal from Athens. This year, the 1998 Tour de France podium man will be roaring out of the gates with early season goals at the Tour de Mediterranean and Paris-Nice before preparing for the Tour de France. “I want to do exactly the same as last year. One the mistakes I made after a successful season in the past was that I’ve changed too many things. I don’t want to change anything. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Julich told VeloNews during a break at Team CSC’s training camp in Tuscany. “This year, it’s going to be very much the same attitude.” Julich said Team CSC will be counting on him and German attacker Jens Voigt to carry the team through the early season ProTour races heading into the Classics and later the Giro d’Italia, where team captain Ivan Basso is aiming for overall victory. “Jens and I are doing much of the ProTour races, so we want to do like we did last year and come out of the blocks running, ready to be competitive in February and March,” Julich explained. “That’s a little different from Ivan and Carlos (Sastre), who are doing the other races, they have a little more time. Besides those two, everyone else is just hungry to show what you have.” Julich will start his season in France with the GP d’Ouverture La Marseillase (Feb. 1), the Etoile de Bessèges (Feb. 2-6) and the Tour Méditerranéen (Feb. 9-13) before the ProTour debut at Paris-Nice (March 6-13). He doesn’t slow down from there, heading into Milan-San Remo (March 19), Criterium International (March 26-27) and Tour of the Basque Country (April 4-8). “There’s the question mark if I do Tour de Georgia or the three classics — Fleche, Liege and Amstel — before taking my break,” Julich says. “Then I have five weeks off racing and I’ll go back to the Reno-Tahoe area to train at altitude. Then I come back around June 1 to be ready for Dauphine, so I’m not to so jet-lagged.” Julich said he’d prefer to race the Tour de Suisse, but the Swiss race conflicts with the new team time trial event June 19, an event team boss Bjarne Riis wants the Tour line-up to perform well. Julich will be back in the Tour lineup to help Basso and Sastre, but he admits he wishes he was also going to the Giro. Basso is taking on the challenge of racing both the Giro and Tour in the same year and wants to the Italian tour. “It makes me wish I was doing the Giro, he’s really keen,” Julich said of Basso. I’m confident that he can do it, that doesn’t change much for me, because if we’re not there for Ivan, we’re there for Carlos. I just want to make sure I don’t hit the deck as much as I did last year.” LA getting serious about hour
Winning a record six Tour de Frances isn’t enough for Lance Armstrong, who may try for the Hour Record at the 7-Eleven Velodrome, The Associated Press reported.
Armstrong would ride on the banked track for 60 minutes to see if he can best Great Britain’s Christopher Boardman’s record of 30.721 miles. Boardman, a time-trial specialist, set the record in Manchester, England, in October 2000.
“Setting the Hour Record is very prestigious,” USA Cycling spokesman Andy Lee said. “In cycling, it’s certainly the most difficult record to attain.”
The 7-Eleven Velodrome is the leading track for the attempt, which would probably happen in late 2006, said Chris Carmichael, Armstrong’s coach who lives in Colorado Springs.
Carmichael this week said he expects a decision on a date and location of the record-breaking attempt within eight weeks.
The velodrome would need to be covered and resurfaced, which Carmichael estimated would be “a seven-figure project.” The city owns the track and leases it to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“The USOC would be very honored to work with Lance and support him in this endeavor,” USOC Acting Chief Executive Jim Scherr said. “Certainly Lance and his team would look to fund the majority of renovations. If there were lasting improvements to the velodrome, we would look to become involved certainly with the community and the city.”
Colorado Springs appeals to Armstrong for several reasons, including altitude. The benefit of less air resistance outweigh the negative of breathing thinner air.
“Lance seems to respond very well at altitude,” Carmichael said.
— By The Associated Press
Millar anxious to hear news
David Millar said he hopes to hear within two weeks whether his appeal to CAS would allow the 28-year-old Scot return to racing sooner than expected. Millar was stripped of his 2003 world time trial title and banned from competition for 24 months after he admitted taking the illegal blood-booster EPO. On Monday, Millar appeared before CAS to request his ban be pegged to June, when he admitted to cheating, rather than at his disciplinary hearing in August last year. If CAS agrees, Millar technically could be cleared to compete in next year’s Tour de France. Miller made the confession while in police custody on June 24, 2004. However, despite the fact that the one-time Tour stage winner stopped competing after that point, a disciplinary panel recommended a two-year suspension from the date of his hearing on August 5, 2004. “It was a long procedure looking into the legal position of my case,” Millar told Reuters. “At the end I was informed that a decision would be reached within two to four weeks but I don’t have any idea what the outcome will be. I can’t make any comment until I have received the verdict myself.” LA branches out to fitness centers
Bicycle Retailer reports that the chain of fitness clubs, 24 Hour Fitness, will open a signature Lance Armstrong club in Austin later this summer. The health club giant also signed on as a sponsor to Armstrong’s Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team and as a supporter of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a cancer research and support organization, BRAIN reported on its web page. According to the report, the Armstrong signature club will feature a “Lance Armstrong cycling room” in addition to the standard health club amenities.