By Shane Stokes
Having structured his training towards hitting peak form in the Giro d'Italia, Paris-Nice prologue winner Bobby Julich has told Cyclingnews.com that he is not putting himself under pressure as regards repeating his overall win of 2005.
"Winning the prologue was a total surprise for me," Julich told Cyclingnews on Monday evening. "So too California, where I almost won the prologue there. This definitely wasn't one of my objectives for the season. After two years where we just blitzed the spring, we purposely took a more lax training schedule over the winter in order to do better later in the season.
"Probably the only reason why I am here is because I have number one on my back from last year. Otherwise I would be doing Tirreno [Adriatico] or maybe even just training right now. As far as the overall, I am already happy to have a win. I am ecstatic. But if the opportunity is there to get another good result, great."
Julich says he is taking a relaxed approach to the rest of the race, putting himself under no pressure. World champion Tom Boonen took over the yellow jersey after stage one and CSC and Julich are content just to let things play out over the next few days. "I am under no false impression that I am going to just ride away from the field and win for the second time, but I am definitely going to have fun doing what I do," he said. "With one win already in the pocket, there is really nothing to worry about. For me, personally, anything more is just icing on the cake."
Given that he had a light winter, the 34-year-old is surprised to already be in such good shape. "I definitely rested over the winter, let me put it that way! But I think that 20 years of doing this for a living is perhaps paying off - maybe there is a little bit of a roll-over effect. I have never really allowed myself to recover in the off-season; maybe I was always riding with one foot in the grave for a couple of years. Now that I just enjoy what I do and take the off-season a little bit easier, then hit it hard again in January, perhaps my body has time to recover and have a little bit of an overcompensation effect.
"You know, besides the training camps, I haven't even started my individual training. That is where I really got my form for Paris-Nice, Criterium International and the Tour of the Benelux last year. I start that block of training after Paris-Nice, so I am really looking forward to being even better in the Giro. I feel I can definitely go up another level."
A full Bobby Julich feature will follow later this week on Cyclingnews.
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