Voeckler expects to lose yellow jersey in Tour de France's first real mountain stage
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Voeckler expects to lose yellow jersey in Tour de France's first real mountain stage

by Bjorn Haake at 2:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Frenchman vows to keep his fighting spirit up regardless

Thomas VoecklerThomas Voeckler is a fighter, which is why he says he will go all out in tomorrow's stage of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees. He is also a realistic person, which is why he thinks he will lose the lead tomorrow afternoon.

Voeckler has enjoyed his two days in yellow, but it doesn't make his job easier. He was asked by Eurosport what he expected tomorrow. "Leg pain, that's for sure," he said with a big grin on his face. With the outcome of the fight around the yellow jersey almost certain, he could just sit back, relax and have one last ride in the yellow jersey. This is not Voeckler's style. "I expect to lose the jersey tomorrow, but that doesn't mean I won't give it my all and fight. I will try to finish as close behind as possible," he said.

Voeckler's lead over the best-placed favorite, Cadel Evans, is 2'26 - a far cry from the 9'35 Voeckler had in the 2004 Tour de France when he held the maillot jaune for ten days. "If you look at the profile - yes, I am certain that I will lose the jersey."

It still has been a good ride and a tremendous success for the Europcar team, which took over as sponsor form the Bouygues Telecom team in the eleventh hour. "My team does a very good job, not only in the Tour, but since the beginning of the season they have been perfect."

The team hits the mountains with one handicap. "We suffered the abandon of Christophe Kern in the beginning of the Tour, who was really there for the mountains. Not even for defending the yellow jersey, but to be there for the collective - it's a big deal," Voeckler said.

There are still some experienced riders left. "Of course we still have Anthony Charteau, who was the King of the Mountain last year. There are also Cyril Gautier and Pierre Rolland who are good climbers."

They will stick around with Voeckler as long as possible, unless the rider from the Alsace region decides to go on an early attack. Going out in style would be fitting to Voeckler's aggressive way of racing. He may also already have the polka-dot jersey on his mind. He currently sits second in that classification, five points behind Johnny Hoogerland. Nothing ventured nothing gained for Voeckler.

Voeckler has scored several wins already this season, including the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, the Tour du Haut Var and a stage in Paris-Nice. He won the GP de Québec last year and became the French road race champion.

In the 2004 Tour his ten-day stand in yellow yielded an 18th place overall and a third place in the young rider's competition, behind Vladimir Karpets and Sandy Casar.


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