Julich and CSC eye the Pyrenees
FIJEAC, France – For Bobby Julich and his team, the Tour’s 11th stage was an exercise in frustration.The relatively short 164-km ride to Figeac, held under blue skies and hot temperatures with the Pyrenees mountains looming on the southern horizon, was an up-and-down affair with plenty of surprises – perfect for Team CSC’s German Jens Voigt and Dane Jakob Piil, the team’s dynamic breakaway duo.Both riders have made forays off the front repeatedly in this 91st Tour de France, with Pill nearly winning a stage and both being named the day’s “most aggressive rider” more than once. And indeed, both Piil and Voigt went on the attack shortly after the stage began Saint-Flour, but to no avail.Voigt was part of a litany of unsuccessful groups off the front in the first few kilometers; and later, when another, four-man group looked like it was going to succeed without at CSC rider, director sportif Bjarne Riis sent the entire team to the front to chase it down, setting up yet another attack by Voigt. But on the day’s second climb, the third-category Cote de Therondels, the German was unceremoniously absorbed yet again.”Jens fought really hard to be a part of the decisive breakaway. He made attempts to escape five or six times and had just been reeled in, as the trio escaped,” said Riis. “It was of course a bit disappointing, because he would’ve been able to do well in a stage like this.”For Glenwoood Springs’ Julich, as well as Team CSC’s co-leaders, Italian Ivan Basso and Spaniard Carlos Sastre, Thursday’s stage was one to stay out of trouble and ponder the next stage into the Pyrenees. The American is expected to provide them exceptional support, whether it’s fetching water, giving up all or part his bike in case of a mechanical problem, or sheltering them from the wind.”I’ve got to be there to support Carlos and Ivan, and I’m counting on those guys to be in the front group,” Julich told reporters earlier this week. “I’ll play a pretty important role in setting those guys up.”Julich, Basso and Sastre are in 18th, 20th and 26th places overall, respectively, at 10:42, 10:52, 10:59 and 11:37 – all within striking distance of Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich.”Tomorrow will be a tough stage and the first real test for the main contenders in the G.C.,” Riis said. “Judging from what we’ve seen so far from Ivan and Carlos, we have every reason to remain optimistic.””Tomorrow will be a tough stage and the first real test for the main contenders in the G.C.,” Riis said. “Judging from what we’ve seen so far from Ivan and Carlos, we have every reason to remain optimistic.”
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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.