Still lots of opportunities left in the race, says Jean-Rene Bernaudeau
The 2014 Tour de France has had its moments for Europcar but with little reward. Team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau is expecting that the second half of the race will bring much greater success than in the first 11 stages.
While Thomas Voeckler has been active in breakaways and was the most combative rider on stage 4 and Bryan Coquard kept the green jersey warm for Peter Sagan (Cannondale) on stage 2, the team is still waiting for a big performance from its riders.
Pierre Rolland rode to an impressive fourth place overall at the Giro d'Italia in May and also leads the team's GC hopes in July. A Rolland attack elevated him into the top-ten in the Vosges but he then faded to 16th place on the GC, and is now more than six minutes down on maillot jaune Vincenzo Nibali.
"We haven't had the big heat and the big climbs yet," Bernaudeau said. "A new Tour begins. My riders are healthy. We now must be keen and bold. Pierre's deficit is reasonable at the end of that tricky first part of the race."
While the team is still backing a tiring Rolland for a high overall placing, Bernaudeau explained that Voeckler will continue to attack in the hope of claiming a fifth career stage win at the Tour.
"At La Planche des Belles Filles, circumstances did not work in his [Voeckler] favour because of the return of Michał Kwiatkowski and the KOM ambitions of Joaquim Rodriguez. But I'm convinced he's still capable of a great feat on any given day," Bernaudeau said.
However it is not all about stage wins and the GC for the team. Despite Sagan holding a 137 point advantage over Coquard in the points classification, Bernaudeau is confident his young sprinter can still challenge all the way to Paris for the green jersey.
"Bryan is not worn out at all," he added. "He has fun on the bike and is really happy to be here."
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