Voeckler's future could hinge on Tour de France performance

Veteran rider suffering in Tour de Yorkshire

Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) remains coy on his future within the sport but admits that his ride in this year’s Tour de France may decide whether he retires at the end of the season.

Voeckler turns 37 in June and has started every Tour de France since 2003. He signed a one-year deal with Direct Energie during the winter and is keeping his options open.

Voeckler has had several Tour de France highlights during his long career, the last coming in 2012 when he won two stages and came away with the mountains jersey. During the 2011 edition of the race he wore the yellow jersey and claimed fourth overall in Paris, and although his best days are likely behind him, a strong showing this year could see him bow out on a high or opt to carry on for another year.

The 2014 and 2015 seasons were low-key affairs for the rider who has spent his entire career riding in teams run by Jean-René Bernaudeau, but he has rediscovered some form of late with a stage and the overall in the Tour Cycliste International La Provence.

“There’s not that many Tours for me left to do but it’s not a discussion for right now. Maybe later in the year I can answer about my future but for sure if I have a good Tour that could help in my decision,” Voeckler told Cyclingnews.

“For now I have three weeks without races and then I go to the Tour of Belgium. Then it’s the Dauphiné Liberé, Route duSud, French Championships and then the Tour.”

Voeckler is currently racing at the Tour de Yorkshire and has already been on the attack having skipped clear in an unsuccessful move on stage 1. The cold and wet conditions may not be to his liking but the veteran rider heads into the final stage on Sunday with a relatively optimistic outlook. Should the opportunity arise, he will try to take it.

“It’s not so easy with the rain here. Sometimes the sun is out but then it’s raining and it’s a little bit dangerous with the weather when you’re trying to change in and out of your rain jacket during the stage. I’m just staying safe at the moment and not taking any risks.”

“I will look for opportunities but I’m not sure if I’ll find any on stage 3. The legs aren’t bad but they could be better. What worries me is the weather because my legs are not so good when it’s cold like it is now. I’ll try and follow the leaders and then we’ll see in the final.”
 

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