Julich honours Paris-Nice back number
Team CSC's Bobby Julich has taken the first leader's jersey of the 2006 Paris-Nice. The last to roll down the start block of the 4.8 km prologue in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, Julich beat the then leading Andrey Kashechkin of Liberty Seguros by 71 milliseconds in a thrilling finishing straight countdown. Australian Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) got third.
"I can't describe the feeling," said the happy American in a TV interview after the race. "I just got back in France on Thursday and I tried to do everything perfect. As soon as I got on the turbo trainer, I was like 'Woah, I have good legs'. I couldn't find my rhythm though - I was either going too fast or too slow. I came to the final straight and saw the time was 6'02, so I thought 'time to go fast.'"
Julich is now looking to defend his 2005 Paris-Nice overall win, although he really didn't expect to be in the position of doing so. "I'm here for training - I came here because I had number one on my back," he continued. "I did it to of course honour the number. My goals are later in the year. But in this sport you have to take it when it comes."
His racing program altered to fit with new objectives this season, Julich's goal wasn't set on the did the overall lead in Paris-Nice. "My aims were to help Ivan [Basso] in the Giro and the Tour," the 34 year-old explained. "This was basically training. Now we have the jersey - maybe we'll try again. Like I said, I won last year, the pressure's not on me.
"Honestly I did not train this winter. I did not focus on this race. I did the training camps and so on. Then the Tour of California was a big surprise. I just keep getting better and better, the older I get."