Julich and CSC stumble through
ARRAS, France – The wet, slippery roads and dismal weather in northern France Wednesday led to a disappointing day for Bobby Julich and his team.The Denmark-based squad sponsored by the namesake California-based information technology company, CSC, was considered a favorite to win the event and possibly put German Jens Voigt in the yellow jersey. But that dream fizzled along the road from Amiens, the victim of mechanical problems – and a three-man crash.”The weather was awful from the start and just as we got up to speed, Jens had a flat tire and the team waited for him,” Julich said after the stage. “When he got back, it threw off our rhythm a little and we had to work hard to get back up to speed again.”Then, just as we got into a good rhythm again, we had three guys crash in a slippery turn,” Julich added. “I think that we had too much pressure in our tires for the conditions, but we have to learn a lesson and move on.”The team quickly reassembled in an effort to limit time lost in the crash, only to find team co-leader Ivan Basso of Italy in need of a new bike – so they waited again.Though Team CSC managed to keep all nine riders together all the way to the finish – and regained substantial time on the way – they ultimately finished fifth, a minute and 46 seconds down on the winning squad, five-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service team, which set the third-fastest pace in the history of the event.”Of course we’re disappointed – especially because we have a team that could’ve won today,” said CSC director Bjarne Riis. “I’ve never seen a team work so well together, and therefore it’s an even bigger misfortune that we suffered so many punctures and crashes.”Fortunately for CSC, with the Tour’s new controversial method for calculating team time trial results – teams are not docked for the time they lost to the winning squad, but for their placement in the stage – the team officially lost only 50 seconds to U.S. Postal.Voigt, meanwhile, dropped from third overall to 11th, 43 seconds behind Armstrong, and Julich dropped to 18th, a minute down, making the dream of riding into the yellow jersey quite a bit more difficult.”Well, the TTT didn’t go as well as we had hoped, but the bottom line is that we are still in the hunt,” said Julich, who added he’s “a little sore” from his crash Wednesday, though “it’s nothing serious.”The Tour is a battle every day and we lost this one, but will be back to fight again tomorrow,” he said.”The Tour is a battle every day and we lost this one, but will be back to fight again tomorrow,” he said.
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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.