French rider Thomas Voeckler, known for his hearty breakaways, has lived up to his reputation in the centenary Giro d'Italia, which finished on Sunday in Rome. The captain of Bbox-Bouygues Telecom went off the front many times during the three-week Grand Tour through Italy, and even though he wasn't rewarded by a stage win still found the race satisfying.
"Generally, the outcome [of the Giro] is positive," said Voeckler. "With a stage win, of course, it would have been magnificent. But only seven teams won a stage at this Giro, so we shouldn't be ashamed."
The 29-year-old came close in the penultimate stage of the event last Saturday, where he had to settle for second just a few metres behind Belgium's Philippe Gilbert. In a Classic-like finale, the Silence-Lotto rider and Voeckler jumped away with one kilometre to go and battled it out between themselves.
"Sometimes, like at Paris-Nice [stage five - ed.] this year, I get second because of a tactical error. But today [Saturday], I rode the perfect race. Philippe Gilbert was simply stronger than me. He's one of the best riders in the world – not me, even if I'm not too bad. So hats off to him."
Voeckler was part of at least five successful breakaways in the Giro (stages 2, 3, 5, 18 and 20) and thus showed off his Bbox jersey well. "I said before the start that we could be successful in the Giro without winning a stage. Moreover, our youngsters proved themselves," added the Frenchman, who led a relatively young team in the Giro.
Voeckler's next goals will be the Tour de Suisse, the national championships and the Tour de France. He is happy with his current form and hopes to win soon. "Of all the Grand Tours that I've raced, I think this is the one where I'm the least tired in the end, even if I still feel knocked out. One thing is for sure, If I don't race well in the Tour in July, I won't say it's because of the Giro."
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