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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
Frenchman caught on final climb
Thomas Voeckler audaciously attacked with 63 kilometres to go in Sunday’s Il Lombardia, but saw his move reeled in on the final climb of Villa Vergano. “I can’t say I am satisfied with my day, but I am not that unhappy either,” he told Cyclism’Actu after the finish.
Just as Vincenzo Nibali did in 2011, when the Tour of Lombardy’s new Lecco finale had its debut, the 34-year old Frenchman tried for a long attack in the last big Classic of the season. He quickly gained 3 minutes on the peloton on the flat roads after the Ghisallo.
“I had very good legs for the end of the season. I could have waited and spared the legs a bit more but I am a rider who doesn’t like to follow. I am the one who likes to take a risk,” Voeckler said.
Voeckler’s risk ultimately did not pay off. “There was not really an organized chase behind me. The teams were not structured on the flatter sections. I went well. It’s not in my philosophy to follow. I preferred to have a go, knowing that I didn’t have the legs to beat those guys [including winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)] in the finale,” Voeckler added to L’Equipe.
This year the multiple Tour de France stage winner only netted five victories, including his very first win against the clock. “I felt short of condition at the start of the season. And when I felt better for my favourite races in the Ardennes I crashed and broke my collar bone in the Amstel Gold Race.”
Voeckler recovered in time for the Tour de France and showed his form by winning the sixth stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné. ‘The Tour didn’t work out well,” the Frenchman said. He finished 65th in the overall classification, whereas he had won the polka dot jersey and two stages in 2012, and finished fourth in the overall in 2011.
“My season could have been better,” Voeckler concluded. “But it’s not all so bad that I just discard this entire year.”
With Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours still on his calendar, Voeckler has two more chances for a big victory this year.