PRESS RELEASE: Team Sky have announced that Bobby Julich is joining the team as a Race Coach ahead of the 2011 season.
The 38-year-old made his breakthrough as a rider when finishing ninth in the 1996 Vuelta a España during which he held the King of the Mountains jersey for 10 days. He went on to take third place in the 1998 Tour de France and his best season as a pro came in 2005 when, having joined Danish outfit Team CSC, he became the first American to win Paris-Nice and also notched overall victories at the Critérium International and the Eneco Tour.
Julich rode with Team CSC (which became Saxo Bank) until September 2008 at which point he announced his retirement from the saddle and joined the team in a management position, focusing on technical development, testing and time trial coaching, as well as the training and development of new young riders.
A fine rider against the clock throughout his career (he claimed the bronze medal in the individual time trial at the 2004 Olympic Games), Julich worked closely with Andy Schleck at Saxo Bank in 2010 on his time-trialling, playing a key role in the Luxembourger’s much-improved display on the penultimate stage of this year’s Tour de France.
However that will be just one small part of his new job at Team Sky as Race Coach Rod Ellingworth explained: “Bobby is going to work alongside myself and help develop the coaching role at Team Sky. We have a long-term view and a coaching structure that we are aiming to work towards.
“Bobby is the first new person to be taken on with that in mind. The role is very much to be a one-on-one coach with a few of our key riders.
“Race coaching is everything to do with the athletes’ lives. It involves so much; planning, supporting the riders whenever they need it – whether it’s time trialling, positional and tactical work – basically whatever is needed to help them in every area. It could even be getting them back on track after an illness.”
Ellingworth added: “In a way we want to try and broaden many people’s views of what coaching actually is. We are available as a coaching team 24/7 to these bike riders; you have to live the life with them a little bit. It’s a big role, a real key one. You are the day-to-day contact for that bike rider – so if they need anything they come through the coach first and then the coach delves into all the support staff around them to make sure it happens rather than the athlete having to go and speak to 10 or 15 different people.
“In terms of the performance structure you’ve got the bike riders on top, then the coaches and then a whole array of departments – logistics, operations, sport science and so on.
“There’s a line of communication and we really want to work on that area and Bobby will be part of that. That’s my idea in terms of the coaching planning and Bobby is the first one to come in to help me deliver it.
“Bobby hasn’t ever worked in this style before so that’s going to be his challenge but he’s completely up for that and is really looking forward to it. He’s come here and had a good look around and can see that it works.
“We obviously also want to make sure that he has his input. He’s got some great experience – and we want to learn from that – so he’ll be a good member of the team.”
And the man himself can’t wait to get started, with Julich telling us: “I am extremely excited to be joining Team Sky. I have been in the same system for seven years and look forward to learning a new one and meeting new people.
“I think I will fit in perfectly with this team and hope that my experience will help this team progress and reach its goals for the future.”