Bobby Julich will return to the team car this season, taking up assistant director duties with US Continental team Holowesko-Citadel at the Amgen Tour of California in May, and helping coach some of the riders in their time trial efforts.
“It took some bending of his arm,” Holowsko-Citadel director Thomas Craven recently told Cyclingnews.
“He was hesitant. I think he was worried he was going to be in some sort of a different role, coming from Europe with programs like Tinkoff and Sky; that’s a big step,” Craven said. “I mean it’s not backwards, but it’s a lot different scene over here for racing than it is on the WorldTour stage.”
Craven said his team aspires to eventually move up to a new level of racing internationally, and Julich is a person who can help the team accomplish that goal.
The time trial specialist will be drawing on the skills that saw him win the overall at Paris-Nice, Eneco Tour and Criterium Internaional, as well as a third-place finish at the 1998 Tour de France and silver in the time trial at the 2004 Olympic Games, to improve some of the Holowesko riders’ results in the race against the clock.
“He worked with Sky, of course, you know with Froome and all those guys,” Craven said. “Last year he was working with those guys on their time trial, more specifically, and he was training with guys like Sagan and some other dudes.”
Craven has known Julich since they rode together on the Chevrolet-L.A. Sheriff team in 1994. Julich is also friends with team owner George Hincapie, so the move to helping the Holowesko team was a natural fit as Julich transitions back to the US.
Although the team took the first-ever US team time trial title last year, in the off-season Craven prioritized improving his riders’ efforts in the individual time trial as a way to better their results in the general classifications. He said bringing Julich into the fold plays well into that effort.
“Bobby doesn’t want to be a director, I now that, but I think this can keep him present and keep him involved in the sport and what’s going, especially with the younger riders,” Craven said. “ We’re not a development team, but we need to help these guys get better, and what better way than to bring in guys like Bobby, whose expertise has been the time trial.”