Sunday, 12 September 2010
cee dubyah rides again
The date is the 12th September 2010. Its almost two months to the day that one of my favourite professional cyclists did the unimaginable. Through no fault of his own he abandoned the Tour de France. Charlie Wegelius was unwell and couldn't continue in the 2010 Tour de France. I was gob-smacked, shocked and stunned. Charlie? Pulling out? NEVER! "He's a hard man! A Super high-mountain domestique! A Legend! He would never pull out" I found myself saying. Alas, it was true. Charlie has since eloquently publicised in his blog ( http://blog.canyon.com/?cat=128&lang=en )his illness and subsequent recovery. Unfortunately I am not so eloquent. I was f**king stunned that one of the greatest, hardest working domestiques in the last decade was unwell. So unwell that it could end his career. As a life long fan of cycling, it shook my very core. The last I remember being this upset about cycling was when the great Marco Pantani was snatched from us. In one of my previous posts, I wrote about my love for the cyclists that don't win but bury themselves for others. It is cyclists like Charlie Wegelius that allow people like Phillipe Gilbert or Jurgen Van den Broeck to shine. It is because of Charlie the Omega Pharma Lotto team are so strong in the mountains. I honestly felt this was the end.
On Friday 10th September 2010, I was sat watching the entire GP de Quebec. Screaming at the TV every time I saw a 'Lotto' jersey. Charlie was back. I hardly caught a glimpse of him. But the start sheet said he was there. The big 'cee dubyah' was back and riding with fire in his belly again. The GP de Quebec is a very hard circuit race over 186km. Nothing like coming back with a tough race then? It was eventually won by another of my favourite riders - the very exciting Thomas Voekler. 'Lotto's' Staf Scheirlinckx romped home in fifth. Charlie? A very credible 84th and only 2 min 9 sec down. After the very public withdrawl and publicised illness, it was fabulous to see Charlie racing again. I knew in my heart, deep down that he would rise like a mythical pheonix and light up cycling again.
And through-out his illness,when he was trying to get well again, he still has time for his fans. Pictured above is a signed Omega Pharma Lotto jersey which I will be auctioning for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation.
Yes Charlie Wegelius is definately one of professional cyclings great men.
Charlie is well and truly back. Welcome back and very well done big guy! roll on 2011?