Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) caused something of an upset by winning the first time trial of his career at the Tour de Poitou-Charentes on Thursday but he is cautious about the prospect of maintaining his form as far as the world championships road race in Florence next month.
The Frenchman trailed Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) by two seconds at the intermediate check point, but he turned on the after-burners in the second half of the 22.8km test in Civray to win the stage by 23 seconds from Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and move into the overall lead.
“It wasn’t my objective to win the time trial because I didn’t believe that I was capable of it,” Voeckler told L’Équipe. “But I had the bit between my teeth at the start and I did it full on. I was complaining beforehand that it was a bit long but that suited me in the end, as I wasn’t too far behind at the time check and then the second part went in my favour.”
Although Voeckler had looked to conserve as much energy as possible during the morning stage, he admitted that he was surprised to beat the likes of Durbridge and Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling) against the watch.
“All I’m missing now is to win a bunch sprint, then I will have done everything in my career,” he joked. “It’s a new string to my bow. I won’t lie, I’m very surprised.”
Voeckler now carries a 26-second lead into Friday’s final stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes to Poitiers, but he was cautious when asked if he felt his form would carry through to the end of the season, pointing to his low-key showing at the Tour de France in July.
“It’s true that there are a lot of objectives, from Plouay on Sunday [the GP Ouest-France] to the Worlds in Italy at the end of September, but there’s no point in getting too excited,” Voeckler said. “Cycling isn’t an exact science. Based on my form in June [when he won the Route du Sud – ed.] I should have done a great Tour de France and we saw what happened there.”