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Frenchman trains before leaving for Liège
Voeckler was listed among the nine riders in Europcar’s Tour selection on Monday even though he had spent a week off the bike after abandoning the Route du Sud on the slopes of the Col du Soulor, citing an inflammation of his right knee.
Although Voeckler trained for two hours on Monday, the final doubts over his fitness were only definitively excised on Tuesday, when he took in a four-hour ride that saw him test his knee more fully.
“Everything went perfectly well,” manager Jean-René Bernaudeau told L’Équipe. “Thomas doesn’t feel any pain in his knee any more and there are no worries.”
Voeckler had begun suffering from the injury at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he also abandoned on the final stage. He was an aggressive presence at the Route du Sud as he looked to prove his fitness, but on his abandon, he was advised to rest completely by his team doctor.
“He knew he had to listen to the advice of the doctor,” Bernaudeau said. “I know that it wasn’t easy for him to go eight days without riding, but I’m happy that he kept his word and stuck to the break that was prescribed.”
It remains to be seen what effect Voeckler’s lay-off will have on his chances of matching his 4th place overall finish of twelve months ago, although Bernaudeau admitted that his leader would need to feel his way into the race.
“Since his abandon at the Route du Sud, he’s only done eight hours on the bike all told, and it’s clear that he’s not going to be on top form for the start of the Tour,” he said. “But he’s a warrior and a hard man. The important thing today is that he has the green light.”
Voeckler was set to train again on Wednesday morning before travelling to the Tour start in Liège in the afternoon.