Voeckler on the attack, Europcar feeling more optimistic heading into the mountains
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Voeckler on the attack, Europcar feeling more optimistic heading into the mountains

by Shane Stokes at 9:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Bernaudeau believes team is turning things around

Thomas VoecklerHaving had two standout riders last year in longtime Maillot Jaune Thomas Voeckler (4th overall) and best young rider plus Alpe d’Huez stage winner Pierre Rolland (10th), this year’s Tour de France has been a real contrast.

Rolland has been under pressure due to a big crash earlier in the race, while Voeckler is not in the shape of 2011 due to an injury which affected his buildup.

Still, despite that, team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau believes that things could well pick up in the Alps and the Pyrenees.

“Two days ago, I was quite frankly very anxious,” he said. “We didn't know where we stood with both Thomas and Pierre. Today, the smile is back on my face. I have been reassured about the fitness of my two main riders. Pierre may have lost more than five minutes on the time trial but he was not at his physical best and he also had a mechanical problem.”

Bernaudeau has needed to be patient thus far in the race as his team has been quiet and is yet to clock up a high placing. Rolland is 25th, ten minutes behind, while Voeckler is only 52nd, 26 minutes 7 seconds back. However he knows that their form is on the up, and that the terrain ahead will suit both much better than the flatter parcours behind.

“The Tour got off for a catastrophic start for us because Thomas only had one functioning leg and Pierre crashed and we feared he had broken something. Today, we're on the brink of the Alps and we have the chance to make the world talk about us once again. If Thomas has no more problems, he will go on the attack, for sure. So yes, we have rediscovered our smile. Today I am very optimistic.”

Voeckler has indeed shown aggression, being part of a large breakaway move that went clear early in the stage. At the time of writing, as the break climbed the Col du Grand Colombier with 55 kilometres left to race, the break was over five minutes clear. There’s a lot of racing left, but Voeckler is clearly settling into the race and feeling much better than before.


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