Britain’s Charly Wegelius has pulled out of the Tour de France after suffering two tough days in the Alps. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider did not start today’s 11th stage from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence.
Although the climber had enjoyed an “on-par” day on Sunday’s stage to Avoriaz, he suffered on Tuesday’s epic to St-Jean-de-Maurienne – finishing over 34 minutes back, in the same group as Mark Cavendish and Robbie McEwen.
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“It was quite horrendous really,” he told Cycling Weekly before yesterday’s stage start in Chambery. “I was just going backwards all day. Even when I was with the sprinters group – and with all respect to them – I was struggling to keep up. Even if you’re modest about my talents, it’s not really where I’m supposed to be.
“I hope it’s just one bad day for whatever reason,” he added. “I’m not sick… I don’t think.”
But on yesterday’s lumpy stage into Gap, Wegelius wasn’t feeling any better. Although he was able to finish with the second bunch and was lying in 108th place overall, the decision was made to pull-out.
“Since the rest day I’ve not been able to get food to stick to me,” a now decidedly ill looking Wegelius told Cycling Weekly at today’s stage start. “I think I might have a bit of a fever too.”
Sat on the steps of his team bus in non racing gear, Wegelius said he was due to return home tomorrow but, having quit the race, wasn’t sure he would be able to bear watching it on TV.
Nonetheless, he said he has every confidence that team mate Jurgen Van Den Broeck could maintain his high place overall.
“I can’t see any reason why he couldn’t stick with those guys,” he said.
Wegelius is the only British rider to withdraw from the 2010 Tour so far, leaving seven Brits still in race.
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