PEZ: How are the legs, Charly?
Charly: A bit sore, but that’s an occupational hazard. Today was a very stressful day, that split that came could have happened any time from the 11th kilometre onwards; we were all looking and waiting for it to happen.
PEZ: What were you doing when you got the call to ride the Tour?
Charly: I found out on Tuesday that I needed a fistful of papers to organise my wedding. On Wednesday I had no idea that I would be riding and I was running around town halls, Finnish embassies and British consulates in the middle of Milan – so being told I was riding the Tour de France added a twist to my day!
PEZ: When’s the big day?
Charly: The Saturday after the Tour finishes, but there’s no point in angling, Ed – there’s no Press invited!
PEZ: What would make it a good Tour for Silence-Lotto?
Charly: It’s hard and pointless to put specifics to it; the Tour is so unpredictable, but suffice to say we want the best possible finish for Cadel – and given his rides over the last few years, that would be a high overall placing for him.
PEZ: What’s your role in the team?
Charly: The same as everyone else in the squad, ‘everybody for Cadel.’
The Silence-Lotto team at the Monaco team presentation. It already seems like so long ago.
PEZ: What about the heat?
Charly: Yeah, it’s hot; but it’s better hot than cold!
PEZ: How’s Cadel?
Charly: Good, one of his big strengths is that he’s incredibly consistent and he started the race well in the Monaco time trial.
Cadel is looking solid and is without a doubt Silence’s top guy.
PEZ: What was your take on Monaco?
Charly: Yeah, It’s a freaky sort of place, surreal. You have all these rich people living on top of each other in microscopic apartments; it’s a bit like a zoo. It’s not somewhere I’d like to live.
PEZ: How’s team morale?
Charly: Good; everybody that’s here is properly prepared; wants to be here and wants to be working for Cadel.
PEZ: What about the split, today?
Charly: I was saying to journalists at the finish today that it’s hard to get across to folks that you have 180 guys stressing for five hours about where and when that kind of thing is going to happen. You say; “I’m going to ride in the first 15 in the bunch,” but all 180 of us have the same idea. Missing it is much easier than it looks when you’re watching on TV and getting it back is very hard indeed when you have a team like Columbia riding hard. In the overall way of the Tour, 36 seconds isn’t that much time.
It looks pretty on tv, but the riders are battling all day for those coveted top positions. Only so many could have made the front split today.
PEZ: What about Lance contributing in the break?
Charly: It’s easy to put all sorts of slants on these things, most of them more gossip than fact; but my personal observation is that if you’re riding in a cross wind, sometimes it’s easier to go through than it is to sit on. If you’re sitting off the back of the echelon you can be left blowing in the wind. I’m not party to Astana’s tactics; but remember that if Lance is up there, he’s going to have guys like me riding their legs off to try and get him back!
PEZ: The TTT?
Charly: We had a practice session at Zolder; it was good because we had the chance to talk about the event and get our heads around it in an environment where there was no traffic – it’s just a pity for me that it was the day after the Giro! But it was difficult to find a suitable time between the Giro and the Tour, with the Dauphine and Tour de Suisse. I’ll be curious to see how Saxo Bank performs after all the work they’ve been doing. Columbia are very strong, but they did a lot of work today; Astana are strong too; Garmin love all that stuff but I think that Silence-Lotto will be competitive on the day.
With thanks to Charly and wishing him ‘bon chance’ for the rest of le Tour – he’ll be talking to us again, in a day or two.