Charly Wegelius’ Dauphine debut is not going badly, but for the Briton riding in the eight-day French stage race so soon after the Giro is tough going mentally.
?I usually have to do the Tour of Switzerland.? Wegelius told Cycling Weekly. The Swiss race starts almost a week later than the Dauphine, and for the Briton that would have given him six days more recovery time. Instead, he?s making his debut in the French stage race.
?Liquigas have got four teams racing at the moment, and somebody has to go somewhere and I ended up here. It?s an occupational hazard.? Wegelius, the only Briton on the race this year, explains.
?I?m here, and doing it badly takes as long as doing it well, so I?ll do my best on the stages that suit me if I get the opportunity.
Showing his habitual dry humour, Wegelius argued that ?I suppose the positive thing is that if I did the Tour of Switzerland I?d have to train and I don?t think I could manage that. Plus it?s a day longer.?
Wegelius can take some sort of comfort that he is far from alone in combining the Giro-Dauphine double. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) is the best-known example, but Lampre?s Sylvester Szmyd, Chris-Anker Sorensen and Nicki Sorensen (both CSC), Australian national champion Daniel Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step) and High Road sprinter Andrei Greipel have also headed from Milan?s finish one Sunday to Avignon?s start the next.
If Wegelius hasn?t seen what?s at the bottom of his suitcase since early May, he?s fairly philosophical about it. ?I was a little bit jaded after finishing in the Giro, but I knew that I was coming here after 10 days of the Tour of Italy. I just put it to the back of my mind!?
When it?s pointed out to Wegelius that Leipheimer has won the prologue after doing the Giro, he reflects a bit ruefully that ?his victory ruined my propaganda plan that you can?t do well here after doing the Giro. I don?t have any ammunition there any more…?
As a climber, the good news is ?I?ve got these first three days [of flat racing and a time trial] to sort myself out, then I?ll either try for a break or hold on for as long as possible in the main group and see where it puts me.?
After the Dauphine, he says he?ll be doing ?the Tour, the Vuelta and then the Revolution series! No, seriously, I stop after this and I?ll be back in racing in the Brixia Tour at the end of July before the Tour of Spain. So all in all, it?s not so bad.?
DAUPHINE LIBERE 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage two: Hincapie outclasses bunch in Dauphine
Stage one: Valverde takes classy win
Prologue: Leipheimer soars to Dauphine prologue win