Thomas Voeckler found it strange to walk around San Marco square in Venice "in the middle of the tourists but not for doing any shopping," he said. The Giro is his first time racing alongside Lance Armstrong since the comeback of the American. "We have one thing in common: we both broke a collarbone before coming here this year," the Frenchman said. Voeckler had his crash in March during Paris-Nice and came back racing at the Circuit de la Sarthe only one week after Armstrong fell at the Vuelta a Castilla y León.
The Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider is a winner again since he claimed a solo victory at the French cup race Trophée des Grimpeurs on Sunday. "It's been difficult to accept being off the bike while I was having my best early season ever," he said referring to his wins at the Etoile de Bessèges and Tour of Haut-Var. "Before being injured, I was going really well. Now I'm back at 70% of my capacities. I can go well at one-day races but I'm not able to sustain the same effort for a three-week basis."
Therefore, the Frenchman will target a stage win. "I don't a have a stage win at any Grand Tour on my palmarès yet and I wouldn't like to conclude my career without achieving it," announced the man who became famous by riding the Tour de France in yellow for 10 days in 2004.
"Of course for all French riders the major event remains the Tour de France, but I'm not here for training, I'm here for racing." He made his first attempt at the Giro two years ago but was forced to pull out after four stages due to knee tendinitis. "A stage win at the Giro wouldn't have the same impact as at the Tour but my pleasure at winning would be equivalent," he said.