Tools and tricks of the pro mechanics
A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) on the attack.
Frenchman is still hoping for stage win for his team
After the success of Pierrick Fedrigo at the Critérium International, Steve Chainel and Sébastien Turgot at De Panne and Cyril Gautier at the Route Adélie, Bbox Bouygues Telecom was expected to be very competitive at the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire. Thomas Voeckler launched a strong solo attack with 40km remaining in stage four to Pré-en-Pail, but he was caught with three kilometres to go.
"It's nice to create a spectacle, but only the win counts," said Voeckler. "We didn't get anything at the end. I was hoping for other teams to be on the offensive as well." But defensive tactics were on the agenda of a few teams toward the end of the race. Caisse d'Epargne and RadioShack protected race leader Luis Leon Sanchez and Tiago Machado respectively.
"When Sanchez accelerates in the hills, we automatically lose a lot of time," said Voeckler. "We came to this race with no sprinter, and we also don't have the best time triallist, so it's pretty tricky to get a win."
Voeckler and Bbox had it in their minds to change the overall classification dramatically. After all,, Voeckler was the winner of the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire two years ago.
"We've given all we had to try and win, but it didn't work out," said the Frenchman. "I'm not disappointed. I'm frustrated. Now I don't think there is any other possibility to dethrone Sanchez, but we'll go for the stage win on the last day on Friday so as to not come home empty-handed."
Bbox Bouygues Telecom is one of the world's most successful teams this year with nine victories so far, but Voeckler himself yet has to score for the first time. He came close, but was outsprinted by Cofidis' Amaël Moinard in Nice on the finish line of the last stage of the "Race to the Sun".