CSC forges ahead; Basso 2nd overall
VILLARD-DE-LANS, France – For Bobby Julich and his team, CSC, Tuesday was a day of mixed blessings.Their leader, Italian Ivan Basso, moved up another notch on the overall classification, crossing the finish line again with Lance Armstrong, who won the race’s grueling 15th stage to take the overall lead. Basso now occupies second place, 1 minute, 25 seconds behind the Texan.In support of Basso, German Jens Voigt and Spaniard Carlos Sastre rode brilliantly, too, finishing ninth and 10th in the stage and returning Team CSC to the top of the team classification.And it makes one wonder where Team CSC would be at full strength.”I understand that not everyone understands my tactic,” said Team CSC Director Sportif Bjarne Riis. “We have an idea very clear – to protect Basso. We have several riders who are not 100 percent, so we have to change our tactic a little bit and perhaps not ride as aggressive.”Sastre, for example, is suffering from a strained back. “My back is really bad, so I was really hurting on the final climb,” he said.Julich, meanwhile, began the stage despite an injured wrist suffered in a crash on Sunday. The Glenwood Springs native finished the stage with the main peloton 8:42 back, however he is determined to continue the Tour in support of Basso. The swelling has decreased in the wrist, but he likely won’t be at his best in the Alps.”It just goes to show that in this sport you’re on top one day, you’re on the bottom the next,” Julich said. “We just have to hope it turns around again.”Worst of all, Team CSC lost the services of aggressive Danish rider Jakob Piil, who hyperextended his knee in a crash of his own on Sunday. Piil, who rode like a man possessed during the Tour’s first week – spending more than 400 kilometers in breakaways – decided Monday to go home rather than continue the race and risk further injury.”We are riding with some other riders that are hurt. Julich is not so good after crashing and Piil isn’t in the race anymore,” said Sastre. “But Basso is strong and I will ride for him. The team is intent on pushing him to the podium.””We are riding with some other riders that are hurt. Julich is not so good after crashing and Piil isn’t in the race anymore,” said Sastre. “But Basso is strong and I will ride for him. The team is intent on pushing him to the podium.”
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.