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Voeckler slips to fourth in Tour de France

By:
Jean-François Quénet
Published:
July 22, 2011, 18:05 BST,
Updated:
July 22, 2011, 19:34 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 22, 2011
Race:
Tour de France, Stage 19
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in yellow

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in yellow

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Out of yellow and a few Dutch enemies for the Frenchman

The love affair between Thomas Voeckler and the Tour de France's yellow jersey has come to an end after ten days. The Frenchman dropped down to fourth place at l’Alpe d’Huez but showed great courage once again on a day of glory for his teammate Pierre Rolland.

“I only got to know once I crossed the finishing line that Pierre had won today’s stage,” Voeckler said.

“I’m super happy for him. He deserves one hundred times to get this win. He has helped me so much. It’s a legitimate reward.

“I was having a hard time”, he admitted. “But my teammates brought me back in the downhill. I also have to thank my compatriots Jérôme Pineau and Arnold Jeannesson for the help they gave me. Not everyone did!”

Voeckler was still bitter to have been dropped by Alberto Contador in the Col du Télégraphe, the first climb of the day.

“The motorbikes of France Television dragged him on the climb”, the Frenchman said.

“I don’t know if I had the necessary level to follow him all the way to the top of the Galibier, but he’s strong enough in the climbs, he doesn’t need this kind of help.”

Voeckler was also angry when he climbed l’Alpe d’Huez, especially at the curve after the village of Huez-en-Oisans, which is nicknamed “the Dutchmen’s curve”.

Spectators gave him a hard time and he openly reacted verbally in front of the cameras. “The public booed me”, he said.

“I know why: it’s because I didn’t wait for Johnny Hoogerland when he got kicked offside by a car the day I took the yellow jersey. I’m not sure if anyone would have waited in such circumstances. Fans are normally fair play in cycling but not these ones.”

However, Voeckler refused to add more negative comments because of Rolland’s win. “This is his day, he deserves all the attention and I’m happy after all”, the Frenchman concluded.
 

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