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Montpellier - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Oleg Tinkov   pictured during stage 11 of the 2016 Tour de France from  Carcassonne to Montpellier, 164.00 km - photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2016
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Inside Le Tour: Rest Day Recap With Charly
The first rest day celebrated the exit from the Pyrenees and the start of a flat middle week. It was a well deserved rest after the ardors of the first week. Silence-Lotto man, Charly Wegelius took time to give us his take on the Tour’s first excursion into the clouds.

PEZ: What did you do with your rest day, Charly?
Charly: The usual; an hour-and-a-bit on the bike, had a bath, tidied my suitcase and sweated a lot – there’s no air conditioning in this hotel, and it’s stinking hot.

PEZ: Happy with your three days in the Pyrenees?
Charly: Yes, I think I did quite a good job; I was there when I was needed.

An easy ride with the team was all that was on the docket for Charly on Monday.

PEZ: The Pyrenees weren’t as decisive as perhaps we thought they would be?
Charly: It was shadow boxing; the real big things are going to happen later in the race. Astana came out on top and are very strong, but that means they’ll have a lot of responsibilities, later in the race.

PEZ: Do you think the organisers designed the three Pyreneean stages not to be decisive?
Charly: Yes, you wouldn’t normally see such big groups on hills like the Tourmalet, but it was a long way from the summit to the finish. I think that it’s better for the public to see stages with successful breaks, like we’ve been seeing.

PEZ: That was a neat trick Hushovd pulled to take the green jersey.
Charly: Impressive; that’s not an easy hill, but I think Cav will take the green jersey at the end – I hope so, anyway.

Thor raced smart to get himself into Vert. Now, the question is if he can play this strategy for Green all the way to Paris.

PEZ: What was the peloton saying about Feillu’s ‘polka dot everything’ look.
Charly: I’m not going to comment on that one!

Dots dots dots.

PEZ: Nocentini could be in yellow for a while yet.
Charly: Perhaps until next weekend; Bruyneel is always good at finding allies. He’s got the strongest team in the race with four in the top ten; but he now has AG2R riding with them too; it’s a big skill that he has.

PEZ: Any signs of Lance Mania easing?
Charly: I was riding close to him on the Tourmalet and there were a lot of people shouting for him – I think his return has been good for the sport.

Bruyneel and Astana found able-bodied help in the very pleased with Jaune Ag2r team.

PEZ: The British newspaper The Guardian, headlined today; “Armstrong admits ‘there is tension at Astana’s table,” any evidence of that on the road?
Charly: No, we don’t see that during the race; but remember that it’s normal to have riders with similar ambitions on the same team – it’s by no means a new thing in the sport.

PEZ: Cadel and the Media?
Charly: I don’t want to comment on Cadel’s behalf, but what I would say is that I look at the chaos the big riders have to endure at stage starts and particularly finishes; and I know that I’d get irritated. They don’t stop race horses as quickly after a race as they do us; you’re being asked questions so quickly after you’ve finished that it’s difficult to give a sound and reasoned answer. It’s not something that I would like to have to put up with; a rider needs a little space after they’ve finished a race.

Press conferences are good for chatting. Immediately after 100% effort? Not so much.

PEZ: Hotels and food on this Tour?
Charly: The food is excellent, but we bring our own chef. The hotels have been a little bit dodgy and this one is a shocker. I don’t know how they stay in business; there’s no air con and the rooms are hot and smelly.

PEZ: I thought air con was a ‘no-no’ for riders?
Charly: What you don’t want is the lethal combination of a sweaty body being blasted with cool air; but there’s a happy medium.

Charly wasn’t a big fan of the hotel in Limoges.

PEZ: If you could change just one thing on the Tour?
Charly: ‘Jolly stages’ – have it so that you could opt out of a couple of the stages that you didn’t fancy, but still be in the race!

PEZ: Will we email pat McQuaid about this one, for you?
Charly: Yeah, tell him to forget about the outcry over race radios and look into this idea!

PEZ: And what about the coming week?
Charly: Lots of stages that look easy on paper, but are really tough. I think the breaks will be let go by AG2R and Astana – it’ll be good for the fans; they don’t want to see ten days of bunch sprints.

With thanks to Charly for his time and good humour; we’ll be talking to him again, before the end of the Tour.


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