Plenty of riders went into the red zone on Mount Baldy, the nasty and abusive queen stage of this year’s Tour of California.
It was a hard day at the office and unless you were Levi Leipheimer or Chris Horner of Radio Shack there wasn’t much to be gained.
But while many riders were grimacing in pain, Charley Wegelius of UnitedHealthcare did manage at least one smile.
After having tweeted that he wanted to see flamingoes on the climb, a few members of his small but fervent Charlie Wegelius fan club answered his request. It was Miami on Baldy.
As Wegelius towed his bad legs captain Rory Sutherland up the mountain, he caught sight of at least four pink flamingoes being waved with abandon. A member of the Unitedheathcare support team later presented the pink plastic birds to Wegelius.
The Tour of California ended a day later with Horner in the golden jersey and Tejay Van Garderen in the white jersey of best young rider. Wegelius didn’t win anything with that kind of prestige but only Horner has a bigger smile.