Voeckler abandoned both the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Route du Sud in June citing an inflammation of his right knee, but the former yellow jersey wearer has been included in Europcar’s nine-man Tour selection. He spent a week off the bike following his withdrawal from the Route du Sud and only got back into the saddle on Monday morning.
Fourth place in Paris twelve months ago, Voeckler told L’Équipe last week that he would be hard-pressed to repeat the feat in 2012 given his troubled final approach to the Tour. “If I have the fortune to be at the start, I’m afraid that it mightn’t be a Tour like the others,” he said.
Flanking Voeckler at the head of Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team is Pierre Rolland. Best young rider in 2011, the Frenchman enjoyed a solid start to the campaign at Étoile des Bessèges but was still searching for his best form at the Dauphiné. Like Voeckler, Rolland suffered from a knee injury earlier in the season, which ruled him out of Paris-Nice.
Europcar impressed during its ten-day defence of Voeckler’s maillot jaune last July, and the promising Cyril Gautier will again feature in the squad this time around, as will Christophe Kern, who was forced out with a knee injury after five stages in 2011.
Giovanni Bernaudeau makes his Tour de France debut, while Yukiya Arashiro, Yohann Gène, Vincent Jérôme and new signing Davide Malacarne are also included in the final selection. Alexandre Pichot and David Veilleux are listed as reserves.
There is no place in the squad for 2010 king of the mountains Anthony Charteau, who was a victim of Europcar’s epidemic of knee injuries at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque.
Europcar team for the Tour de France: Thomas Voeckler, Pierre Rolland, Christophe Kern, Cyril Gautier, Giovanni Bernaudeau, Yukiya Arashiro, Yohann Gène, Vincent Jérôme and Davide Malacarne