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Inside Le Tour: Catching Up With Charly
‘Charly, can you be bothered talking to me after all that rain, today?’ ‘45 minutes’ comes the reply; I really will have to buy that man a wedding present! Charly Wegelius once again took a few minutes to talk with Ed Hood to give us a look inside the peloton.

PEZ: Have you dried out yet, Charly?
Charly: Yeah, but my shoes haven’t, it doesn’t rain much in these parts and there’s just so much shite on the roads when it does.

PEZ: How many Grand Tours is this?
Charly: 12; two Tours, three Vueltas and seven Giros.

PEZ: Tell us about the Silence-Lotto TTT.
Charly: Result and times are what count in the Tour, so fundamentally it was a bad day for us; but given what happened to us, it was a good performance. Jurgen Van Den Broeck crashed, he was coming back so we waited a little, but he didn’t make it. Then Johan Van Summeren punctured, he made it back but was obviously very tired from the effort. On the fast, final part of the course we missed them, we’d have missed any two riders but they are big, strong powerful guys and not having them was a definite handicap.

PEZ: Cadel spoke highly of your ride.
Charly: Yes, I was pleased with how I rode; in a TTT you have a responsibility to your team. In an individual TT, if you don’t go well then only you suffer, but in a TTT you have the pressure of not wanting to let your team mates down.

PEZ: How is Jurgen?
Charly: Scrapes, bangs and he was a little sore still, today.

Jurgen is doing ok, just suffering from the normal bike crash pains.

PEZ: The sprinter’s teams got it wrong yesterday when Voeckler won.
Charly: Yes, it was a bit of a turn up, but it goes to show that it’s not as controlled and scientific as it seems when you watch on TV. It’s good to have a French stage winner and it’s good that the hare has its day – not just always the dogs!

PEZ: Do you think that Columbia are getting tired?
Charly: I hope so! The problem for them is that Cav is just so superior and the other teams are loathe to contribute, because if they take Cav up, then he’ll win – they need a few more allies.

PEZ: Are you glad to be out of that coastal wind?
Charly: Yeah, it’s been very stressful because everyone knows that the split will come, but you don’t know where or when, so you’re stressing about it all day until it eventually comes.

PEZ: How has your work load been, these last two days?
Charly: Not a massive amount; the big guys – Jurgen, Johan and Sebastian Lang have been doing a very good job of looking after Cadel. I’ve been trying to save my legs a little for the mountains, where my work really begins.

PEZ: The streets of Barca looked lethal, today.
Charly: None of us fell; I punctured at around 13 K to go but that was no drama, it kept me clear of the crashes. I saw Boonen coming down pretty hard when I was watching the finale on TV whilst having my massage.

Cadel is a bit further back on GC than he would have liked, but he is going well, and he is ready for the mountains.

PEZ: Cadel was well to the fore, today.
Charly: That was down to good work by the boys; and he’s ridden enough races at this level to know how to keep out of trouble.

PEZ: Cadel has a wee bit of time to make up.
Charly: The good thing is that there several other favourites in the same boat – Sastre, Menchov, so we have allies to help us, it’s not as if we’re alone.

PEZ: Hasn’t Big Denis been on the vodka since the Giro?
Charly: I wouldn’t write him off just yet, he’s a big strong guy and it’s a long way to Paris.

It's about time for the likes of Charly and Matthew Lloyd to get ready for the mountain work.

PEZ: The mountains - a relief from the nervousness we’ve been seeing?
Charly: In a way, yes – in the mountains you’re there, or you’re not! It’s pressure for me because that’s what I’m here for but I don’t feel so bad – but its early days and there’s plenty of time to feel worse!

PEZ: Can Cancellara hold on to the jersey, tomorrow?
Charly: No, maybe if he really killed himself, but he’s not going to be able to respond when Lance attacks, is he?

PEZ: That’s the prediction – a Lance attack?
Charly: It’s hard to predict – look at the Giro; some guys who were very consistent had a bad first day in the mountains, Garzelli for one. Some guys need a day or two to adjust to the rhythm of the climbs after the big gears of the flat stages.

PEZ: The prediction then, is that it will be unpredictable?
Charly: Yes, and I can tell you where the finish is, that’s on the map, so I can predict that with certainty!

We’ll be talking to Charly again, in a day or two to get his thoughts on Les Montagnes; let’s hope those Mountain Gods are good to him.


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