Although Lance Armstrong departed the Paris-Nice bicycle race on Wednesday, an American racer has ridden forward to take the lead.
Bobby Julich, riding for Team CSC is in the yellow/white jersey Friday with a 19 second lead over his nearest rival. The 34-year-old had been moving up the GC after finishinig in a breakaway on Thursday and then taking 10th, 41 seconds behind stage winner Gilberto Simoni of Italy, on Friday.
Julich was quoted on the Paris-Nice 2005 website:
“The leader's jersey comes as a bit of a surprise to me. In the last 300 meters, I thought I was going to explode.
“The days to come should suit be better, especially because we're getting closer to my home. I live next to Nice. I hope to be in the leading positions in the upcoming climbs.”
The Outdoor Life Network (OLN) is scheduled to televise the Paris-Nice from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday and the conclusion from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Times are EST. Check OLN for schedule changes. Let's hope Julich is still in the leader's jersey.
Julich is a long-time pro racer, although he's been riding under the radar while fellow countrymen Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton have received more attention. For instance, Julich won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the individual time-trial last year, behind Hamilton and Viacheslav Ekimov.
Julich, who splits his time between Reno, Nevada, and Nice, France, started competing as a triathlete as a teen (sound familiar?) but later took up bicycling after watching Greg Lemond in the Tour de France. An in-depth profile is available at his website, BobbyJulich.com.