No regrets for Voeckler after daylong Il Lombardia breakaway
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Sunday, October 06, 2013

No regrets for Voeckler after daylong Il Lombardia breakaway

by Kyle Moore at 8:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro di Lombardia
 
Solo move had looked promising until peloton got to business

Thomas VoecklerIt is rarely a surprise to see the grimace of Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) attacking a bike race, and the aggressive Frenchman was at it again Sunday in Il Lombardia, attacking on his own in the rain with 60 kilometres left to race.

Voeckler came across to a mid-race breakaway of five dangerous riders, including the Movistar duo of Nairo Quintana and eventual runner-up Alejandro Valverde. Voeckler almost immediately attacked the quintet, and while he perhaps expected someone else to come along, he decided to make the trek on his own when no one did.

The Europcar rider rode through the rain by himself from the 60km mark until he was reeled in with 11 kilometres left. At one point, he had built a lead of nearly three minutes, but the collective efforts of Katusha and Saxo-Tinkoff were enough to do in the tenacious French rider.

As Europcar attempts to secure a WorldTour license, Voeckler put their green jersey on TV once again, sharing team leadership with countryman Cyril Gautier. After the race, Voeckler said that his team did not have a strict plan to follow outlined beforehand.

“There were protected riders within the team, namely Cyril Gautier and me,” he explained. “We had to preserve it for the final. But in the briefing, there were no specific instructions. We would see how it felt. So I tried something.”

With such a long way to go, Voeckler could have used another rider who shared the interest of getting to the finish alone. From the quintet he had joined, the peloton would have been much more vigilant if Quintana or Valverde had tried anything, but also there and able to go were Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing), and Giampolo Caruso (Katusha), all three of whom would have delighted the crowd with a break on his home turf.

Voeckler said that being on his own came with its advantages and disadvantages. “Sometimes, you can’t necessarily choose who accompanies you. When you are alone, you can manage the stress and it has its advantages. Starting from far out, I knew it would be hard, but I’m still happy to have tried it.

“I tried from so far out because I could not have done it any other way,” the Frenchman added. “I cannot follow a Joaquim Rodriguez in that kind of final. I would have been trying to hang on for a top ten. I did what I had to do. I felt good and I would have regretted not doing something. I’m glad I took the risk when it materialized.”

In the end, it was the final climb, to Villa Vergano, which finished off Voeckler. His 30-second lead dropped to zero as the small group of favourites drove past him. Rodriguez attacked near the top to take his second straight victory in the Monument. Voeckler came home 34th, more than four minutes back.

“No, I really do not regret anything,” he mused. “I could have never followed in the final. I had up to three minutes of lead on the pack at one time. I’m sure if I had at least another minute after the Ghisella, it would have happened. But it worked out otherwise. I am just one of the many riders who tried at the Giro di Lombardia.”

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