Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) is hopeful that he can return to competition in time for the Volta ao Algarve in late February. The Frenchman was due to begin his season at the Santos Tour Down Under but suffered a broken collarbone in a training crash within hours of landing in Australia.
Voeckler has since returned to France and undergone successful surgery on his right collarbone, which he had already fractured at Amstel Gold Race last April. The 34-year-old plans to be back in the peloton before the end of next month. The Volta ao Algarve gets underway on February 19.
“I’m recovering well,” Voeckler told L’Équipe. “I still have to talk about it with the team doctors and management, but I don’t imagine that I’ll return to competition any later than at the Volta ao Algarve.”
If Voeckler does recover in time for the Portuguese stage race, he warned that he does not expect to be at the front end of the peloton immediately.
“I’ll need to be patient, considering the delay I’ll have on the rest of the competition,” he said. Before the season began, Voeckler had named Paris-Nice as his primary target for the early part of 2014.
In any case, as Voeckler told Cyclingnews before leaving Australia, he does not feel an obligation to return to action as quickly as he did after his crash at Amstel Gold Race last year, when he was building towards the Tour de France. “I'm certainly not in the same situation as last year after the accident at the Amstel Gold Race,” he said.