By Gregor Brown in Loudenvielle
Charley Wegelius keeps plugging away in the 2007 Tour de France for himself, Team Liquigas and for his mom watching in Britain. The team's ace Pozzato has scored a powerful win with the finish in Autun while climber Manuel Beltrán continues in the general classification battle, meanwhile the 29 year-old Wegelius is hoping for a chance for an escape but is also keeping an eye on the team's overall position.
Two weeks have passed in the world largest bike race, but the affable Brit hasn't yet lost his good-humoured edge when the microphone was set to record. "Get that out of my face," was the comical greeting by Wegelius Monday morning in Foix. When asked about the stage ahead, he said, "I don't have a crystal ball but if I had legs like I had lately then I don't think I will be there [in escapes]. I had this really special plan to get into breaks after the Alps but I think that about 150 other guys had the same plan too... Joking aside, I will try to get into the break but you know I have to do what I can with the legs that I got," he continued to Cyclingnews.
"And then I will be the second guy for the team classification, which nowadays is very important." The team is currently 11th in the rankings. He is followed by fans around the world but also by family, including his mom Jane and girlfriend Camellia, who call and check on him regularly. "My mom watches, my girlfriend and my father in-law, who has never watched a bicycle race in his life. None of them knew about cycling before but they have become experts, which is a bit awkward because they start asking me why I don't do this or that.
"My dad rang me and said that he couldn't believe that the flat day was the hardest day in the race, so I had to explain all about crosswinds and things like that." Wegelius makes his home in Italy like the current race leader, Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank, which he tips as the eventual race winner. "I think Contador and Rasmussen both showed that they are on a differently definitely level than the other favourites in the race. I think it will come down how they perform in the time trials.
"They are both light guys but if one can go a little better than the other one then that can make a bigger difference than the mountains." Regardless, Wegelius is placing his bets on one man, "Rasmussen."