What's Cool In Road Cycling


Sometimes you think you’re done, only to find out you’re just gettin’ started. It’s a scenario that fits Bobby Julich, who considered hanging up his wheels at the start of 2004, only to find new life with Bjarne Riis and CSC. “The old Bobby Julich” is back, and we sat down last week with for a little post-season one-one.

Friends, family, and the notorius PEZ banner joined Bobby at a recent party in Philly to celebrate his Olympic success.

The 2004 season actually started in December, 2003 at the Team CSC training camp. Julich almost hung up his wheels, thinking he’d tear up the contract if things didn’t go well at the camp. He found however that Bjarne Riis and Team CSC was exactly what he was looking for. “Bjarne had me at hello,” Bobby said.

But Team CSC was no picnic. A second camp was held the following month in Luca, Italy. The team then killed everyone at the Tour of The Mediterranean, where they won the Team TT, took the top three places in the overall, and Bobby placed 8th.

Celebrate, no, not for Team CSC. Following their Tour of the Mediterranean success the team went back to Italy for yet another training camp to prepare for Paris-Nice. Bobby’s early season success qualified him for the Athens Olympics after missing the 92, 96, and 2000 editions. The team then hit a hard five-day stage race as training for the Dodge Tour of Georgia. Julich won the final TT and took 4th overall.

The Dodge Tour of Georgia was Julich’s first race in the U.S. in eight years. He was a bit disappointed with some of the organizational aspects of the race and also expected a higher level of racing. Julich conceded that he did come into the race with peak form.

Bobby rode much of the 2004 Tour, including Alpe d’Huez, with a broken wrist.

The Wachovia US Professional Championships didn’t go as well for Bobby or the team. They didn’t win the jersey in Philly nor did they win at Lancaster or Trenton.

Although jet lagged, Julich went to the Tour of Switzerland as a final build up to the Tour de France. He felt fantastic for the first four days of the race but didn’t feel great in the mountains, believing “he couldn’t climb the big mountains anymore.” Director Sean Yates asked what was wrong and then checked out Bobby’s bike. Yates found the frame bent and out of alignment. Bobby still finished 12th overall.

The 2004 Tour De France was an up and down thing for Bobby. A crash in the Team TT and fall in “the big one” on stage 7 caused Julich to hurt his lower back and elbow. Julich started to feel better and was expecting a top 10 placing or better until being hit by Bjarne in the team car on stage 13. This fall caused a broken wrist for Bobby.

The gods were looking after Bobby the following day, providing the most flat and smooth roads in France, thus enabling him to hang on until the rest day. Bobby made it to Paris proving how tough he is. It would have been easy for him to give up but that’s not in his character.

See? – this is the kind of treats you get as an Olympic medalist – you get to eat yourself.

With less than two weeks to the Olympics, Bobby and Jens Voight easily won The LUK Challenge, a two-man TT in Germany, indicating good form. Bobby stuck to the trainer for the last few days before heading to Athens to avoid any falls or accidents. “I had tears from knowing I’m an Olympian. No one can take that away from me,” Said Julich.

Bobby rode aggressively in the Olympic Road Race, finishing 28th after missing Bettini’s move. However, the TT was always his focus. Both Julich and Tyler Hamilton checked out the course often, drove it, and knew what to expect. Although Julich didn’t think the course suited him he wasn’t nervous and was confident in his abilities.

Heading out on the 2nd lap and coming back at maximum effort, Julich thought to himself that this is what if feels like to be an Olympic Champion. Things happened quickly for Julich, learning he took bronze and a teammate had won the gold.

During the medals ceremony, Hamilton, Ekimov, and Julich were whisked away, far away from their family and friends. The noise from the overhead helicopters also drowned out the national anthem. Bobby hoped it looked better on TV than it was in person.

Following the awards ceremony but just prior to the press conference Julich’s doctor showed up with a plaster kit for his wrist. Everyone was in shock at the site of a cast on his wrist. A cat scan the next day revealed a second broken bone in his wrist.

Julich had planned to train at his home in Lake Tahoe then win the San Francisco GP but a late season ear infection effectively ended his season early.

During our brief chat with Bobby at Interbike, he was given this photo by photographer Casey Gibson. Bobby was clearly moved as he recalled the moment when he showed his medal to his daughter in Athens.

PEZ: Bobby, what are your plans for the off-season?
BJ: It’s pretty much done already, with 5 weeks off. I’m getting back to weights and riding 5 days a week, but still find a little time for golf.

My wife Angela, daughter Olivia and I head out to Tahoe 11/5 where I’ll do some altitude training. Come December I’ll do some more specific power training. It’s important to stay fit in the off-season and be ready for the first training camp.

In 1999 I crashed out of the Tour de France and started training October 6th. I killed myself in the pool at 7am, burned my motors just to train, and had the worst season ever in 2000. I was burnt out big time. I’m doing everything different now.

Some of the souvenirs from Athens.

PEZ: What sort of transition mentally and physically did you go thought this season that has brought you back to winning form?

BJ: 100% Mental! One of the biggest things to turn me around was when Bjarne, referring to my past success, said “it’s still inside of you.” And tapped me on my chest. I walked away saying it’s still inside me. Also, my director is treating me with respect, treating me like a man. Bjarne’s has four rules which rules that we live by; communication, teamwork, loyalty, and respect.

Our trainer Ole Kare Foli, usually reserved for Basso, Bartoli, and Jaksche, took me aside after speaking with Bjarne and gave me a psychotherapy session. We talked about my father, crashes, everything. He touched me, adjusted my neck, doing “magic,” and said my energy pathways were like a “kinked hose.” In January of 2004 he said he’d bring me back to “the old Bobby Julich,” which is what he called me all season.

PEZ: When you met with Mr. Pez at Interbike you told him a story about rooming with Sean Yates as a young pro at Motorola. Can you share that with me?

BJ: Whatever Sean said went. That sums up Sean. My number one memory though is at the Tour of the Mediterraneen. I wasn’t racing but was staying with the team during the race. I was paired with my idol, which was exciting. So I’m sitting in the room watching some TV and writing in my journal. Suddenly Sean comes in, the TV went off , the lights went off, and Yates said “good night.” I was scared to flush the toilet after that.
He’s a great guy and I’ll miss him now that he’s moving to the new Discovery team.

PEZ: How can the tech hungry public get those Osymetric chain rings?
BJ: The company was basically done since the owner didn’t want to sell the patent.
I put him in touch with Sinclair Imports since they are in my hometown. They worked out a deal and are now the exclusive importers for them and should be available in January or February 05. Check out www.sinclairimports.com for more info on them.

PEZ: What type of difference did they make?
BJ: They are the product of the century for racing. These will do for time trialing what aero bars did in the early 90’s. Castorama tried them but had conflicts and couldn’t use them. Festina had done extensive testing on them in 97, during which SRM testing showed significant benefits to these chain rings over standard ones. After my crashes in this year’s Tour I couldn’t stand up during the climbs. I was more efficient with the Osymetric rings and it allowed me to stay in the saddle.

Just like playing the guitar, taking up cycling can be a good way to meet hotties. That’s Mrs. J in the middle.

PEZ: Are your ready for Pez speed round? You know the rules – just pick what comes to mind first.

PEZ: LeMond or Hinault
BJ: LeMond

PEZ: Fixed gear or Cross country skiing
BJ: Cross country skiing.

PEZ: Nice France, Philly, or Lake Tahoe
BJ: Lake Tahoe

PEZ: Domestic Airlines / International Airlines
BJ: International..(note: Bobby’s bike was recently waffled coming to Philly. Fortunately expert mechanic and Bobby’s friend, Paul Molino of Bike Addicts, fixed him up.)

PEZ: And we have a winner! Again, thanks Bobby and good luck for next year.

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