Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) hasn’t won a race yet this year – his best results being second in stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie and third in stage 7 of the Volta Catalunya. However, his sixth place at the GP Plumelec on Saturday and his offensive spirit at the Boucles de l’Aulne on Sunday warned his adversaries that a win is around the corner.
Voeckler will tackle the Critérium du Dauphiné, which runs from, June 8-15, where he won stage 6 to Grenoble, beating two Astana riders (Kevin Seeldrayers and Egor Silin) in a four-man breakaway, last year. After a disrupted early season, Voeckler is raring to go.
"I'm not looking for motivation, I'm looking for good sensations," the Frenchman told Cyclingnews in Châteaulin. "I don't need to motivate myself for one-week races like Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné. They are my favourites. The first part of my season was clearly frustrating. I broke a collarbone in Australia before it even started and that delayed my coming into form but since April, I can't hide myself behind that. I'm not totally serene about my condition ahead of the Dauphiné, but there's also no reason why I wouldn't do well."
The king of the mountains of the 2012 Tour de France returned from a training camp in Savoy where he went to recon some of the Alpine courses of the Dauphiné, including the unprecedented uphill finish at Finhaut-Emosson, Switzerland, scheduled the day before the grand finale in Courchevel.
"This coming Dauphiné might not feature any of the very famous climbs in the Alps, but some of them are truly hard", the Europcar leader said. "On paper, the middle mountain stages suit me well. Considering the level of the big names at the start, I don't plan to ride for GC but to be an actor in the race like last year."
Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Tejay van Garderen will warm up for the Tour on French roads, while double winner of the Dauphiné Alejandro Valverde (2008, 2009) has not been entered by Movistar and is rumoured to choose the Route du Sud (June 20-22) instead.
Known as one of the smartest riders in the pro peloton, Voeckler - who turns 35 this month - noted that winning has become a more and more complicated task for him. "I'm marked more than three or four years ago", he realized. "The level of the racing is also higher and higher. It's been four years since I didn't reach June without having won a race but I still believe in myself. I enjoy the competition against younger guys. They're right to be ambitious. I was also very ambitious at their age and I still am. I keep loving the sport."