Thomas Voeckler

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Thomas Voeckler
Thomas Voeckler facial expression (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Full name Thomas Voeckler
Nickname Ti-Blanc,
Francis
Born (1979-06-22) 22 June 1979 (age 35)
Schiltigheim, France
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Weight 71 kg (157 lb; 11.2 st)[1]
Team information
Current team Team Europcar
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Amateur team(s)
2000 Bonjour (stagiaire)
Professional team(s)
2001– Bonjour
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
Mountains classification (2012)
4 individual stages (2009, 2010, 2012)

Stage races

Tour de Luxembourg (2003)
Four Days of Dunkirk (2011)
Route du Sud (2013)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships (2004, 2010)
GP Ouest-France (2007)
GP de Québec (2010)
Brabantse Pijl (2012)
Infobox last updated on
2 January 2014

Thomas Voeckler (French pronunciation: ​[tɔ.mɑ/tɔ.mɑs vœ.klɛʁ]; born 22 June 1979) is a French professional road racing cyclist who rides for the Team Europcar cycling team.[2]

One of the most prominent French riders of his generation, Voeckler has been described as a "national hero," due to strong showings in several editions of the Tour de France.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Schiltigheim, Bas-Rhin, Voeckler has been a professional cyclist since 2001. He comes from the Alsace region of France but later moved to Martinique, where he was nicknamed "Ti-Blanc" (petit blanc) due to his small stature and pale complexion.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

In 2003, Voeckler captured two stages and the overall title in the Tour de Luxembourg. The following year, he suddenly rose to international prominence in the world of cycling. After seizing the French championship, the lightly regarded Voeckler entered the 2004 Tour de France. After escaping with five other riders during the fifth stage, Voeckler gained significant time against the peloton, and earned the yellow jersey (maillot jaune). Remarkably, he defended his jersey for ten days, even on stages not well-suited to his strengths.

With the maillot jaune on his shoulders, and intense media attention all around him, Voeckler only rode stronger. He survived the dreaded Pyrenean climbs seconds ahead of Lance Armstrong. Voeckler finally surrendered the jersey to Armstrong on stage 15 in the French Alps. Voeckler then also lost the white jersey (le maillot blanc, held by the best rider under 25) to Vladimir Karpets. But by then Voeckler was already a national hero.

The 2005 season was busy as Voeckler rode many races, including some not considered a fit for his style of riding. His only win that year came in Stage 3 of the Four Days of Dunkirk. In 2006 he won the fifth stage in 2006 Vuelta al País Vasco. At the 2006 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, Voeckler finished second on Stage 1. He also won the 2006 Paris–Bourges.

In 2007, Voeckler garnered a stunning win at the 2007 GP Ouest-France, in which he beat the favorites with a late breakaway. For 2008, his early season was highlighted with an overall win at the Circuit de la Sarthe and in 2009, he gained his first stage win in a Tour de France. Voeckler went for victory with about 5 km to go, having been part of a breakaway group for most of the race.[5]

2010[edit]

After a somewhat slow start to 2010, Voeckler went on to win the French national road championship. He was able to break away from the bunch along with Christophe Le Mével. Voeckler bested Le Mével in the sprint to take his second national championship jersey. His form then continued into the 2010 Tour de France where, after several unsuccessful attacks, he was first over the finish line during Stage 15. He launched himself 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) before the summit of the Hors Catégorie Port de Balès, cresting the summit alone. He negotiated the very fast descent without incident, and crossed the line in Bagnères-de-Luchon with more than a minute over the chasers.[6]

"At an emotional level, what happened at the championships of France, when I came home first, was already enormous. But then to win a stage of the Tour de France with the tricolor on my shoulders is extraordinary."

—Voeckler after his stage 15 Tour de France victory.[6]

In September, Voeckler took the victory in the inaugural running of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, a new event on the UCI World Tour calendar. He downplayed his chances in the press in the days before the event citing a lack of form. However, he placed an attack in the final kilometer to cross the finish line on the Grande-Allée with a couple of bike lengths over Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen.[7]

2011[edit]

Voeckler in his first year as a pro racer

In 2011, Voeckler enjoyed his finest year as a professional. He recorded eight spring victories prior to the 2011 Tour de France in July, notably taking two stages at Paris-Nice, and winning the overall lead in the Four Days of Dunkirk as well as the Tour du Haut Var.

In the ninth stage of the Tour de France, Voeckler led a breakaway, survived a collision caused by a media support car that injured two other riders,[8] and crossed the line second, taking the overall-time lead and therefore wearing the maillot jaune (yellow jersey). He held on to the yellow jersey daily from the beginning of Stage 10 onwards, carrying it through all the Pyrenean mountain stages and into the Alps, but he was unable to retain it at the end of Stage 19, the queen stage finishing at Alpe D'Huez. Voeckler finished the Tour in fourth place 3min 20sec behind the winner, Cadel Evans, in the general classification – his best career placement in the Tour so far. His fourth-place finish in the general classification was the highest of any Frenchman in the Tour since Christophe Moreau's fourth-place finish in 2000.

Voeckler's 2011 compensation from Team Europcar was worth 420,000 euros a year, which made him the second highest-paid French cyclist after Sylvain Chavanel.[9][10] His planned switch to Team Cofidis was worth almost twice as much, however Voeckler chose to remain at reduced salary, with Jean-René Bernaudeau's team once it re-found sponsorship for 2011, able to continue his 15 year relationship with the coach.[3]

2012[edit]

In 2012, Thomas Voeckler followed his previous year's successes with another season of victories and top placements, including a new-found focus in the Spring Classics.

His spring campaign did not achieve strong results until April, where he attained a top-ten finish in the Tour of Flanders, the second classic monument on the 2012 calendar; his first victory of the season came ten days later, during a 30 kilometer solo breakaway in the semi-classic Brabantse Pijl, which he won under bad weather conditions (cold and rain).[11] The following Sunday he took a top-five placement in the classic Amstel Gold Race,[12] and a week later continued his success in the Ardennes with a fourth-place in the final spring classic of the season, the monument Liège–Bastogne–Liège.[13] Along with other Europcar riders, Voeckler managed to win a stage in the Gabonese La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, at the close of April.[14]

Voeckler in the yellow jersey at the 2011 Tour de France

He started the Tour de France slowly, suffering from a knee injury and almost abandoning the grand tour, after also abandoning earlier preparation races. However he gathered strength and later won stage 10, the first mountain stage of the race, including crossing the hors catégorie climb of the Col du Grand Colombier in the lead, thus claiming the polka-dot jersey for the mountains classification lead, which he held for a day.[15] He also prevailed in the queen stage of the race, stage 16 from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon, which included four huge climbs including the Col du Tourmalet. Voeckler broke away from the peloton about 25 kilometres (16 mi) into the race and was part of a massive 38 men escape bunch. He passed all four King of the Mountains points locations in the lead, and grabbed the polka-dot jersey once again as well as the victory, dropping his last breakaway companion Brice Feillu of the Saur-Sojasun squad while ascending the Col de Peyresourde, the stage's final difficulty. He then charged down the mountain to reach the finish line with a minute and 40 seconds on the nearest chaser.[16] Thomas Voeckler subsequently won a classification podium spot in Paris for the first time in his career, by holding the tour's mountain classification jersey, from the Pyrenees to the finish.[17]

2013[edit]

Voeckler started the Classics season with a good showing in the Dwars door Vlaanderen. He escaped the lead group of riders on the last climb with 6 km (3.7 mi) to race and made a solo bid for the line, but was caught inside the final meters, only to take fifth. Voeckler was clearly heartbroken after such a close call.[18] In the Ardennes Classic Amstel Gold Race, Voeckler crashed with other favorites, was put on a stretcher and went to the hospital where a broken collarbone was detected.[19] By June Voeckler had rebounded and shown strong form once more, winning stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné from a breakaway of four despite being outnumbered by two Astana riders.[20] Voeckler continued his winning form by winning the overall titles of the Route du Sud and the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.

Other[edit]

Voeckler is known for displaying a particularly wide variety of facial expressions while racing, especially when producing vigorous efforts.[21] They range from grimaces of pain to sticking out the tongue and many other mimics, and is arguably a component of his notoriety.[22] In August 2011, Voeckler raced on his bike against a horse in an exhibition contest, and lost.[23]

Palmarès[edit]

2003
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de Luxembourg
1st Stages 1 & 3
1st Classic Loire Atlantique
1st Stage 8 Tour de l'Avenir
2nd Tour de la Somme
3rd Grand Prix de Denain
2004
1st MaillotFra.PNG National Road Race Championships
1st A travers le Morbihan
1st Stage 4 Route du Sud
2nd Clasica de Almeria
18th Overall Tour de France
Held Maillot jaune Jersey yellow.svg from Stage 5–14
Held Maillot blanc Jersey white.svg from Stage 5–18
2005
1st Stage 3 Four Days of Dunkirk
Held Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification for Stage 2 Tour de France
2006
1st Paris–Bourges
1st Stage 5 Vuelta al País Vasco
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Route du Sud
1st Stage 1
3rd Overall Étoile de Bessèges
2007
1st Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification Paris–Nice
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour du Poitou Charentes et de la Vienne
1st Grand-Prix de Plouay Ouest-France
2008
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan
Held Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification from Stages 1–5 Tour de France
2009
1st Stage 5 Tour de France
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Étoile de Bessèges
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour du Haut Var
1st Stage 2
1st Trophée des Grimpeurs
2nd Grand Prix d'Ouverture La Marseillaise
3rd Tour de Vendée
2010
1st MaillotFra.PNG National Road Race Championships
1st Stage 15 Tour de France
1st Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
3rd Overall Giro di Sardegna
2011
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour du Haut Var
1st Jersey pink.svg Overall Four Days of Dunkirk
1st Stage 4
1st Stage 1 Tour Méditerranéen
1st Stages 4 & 8 Paris-Nice
1st Cholet-Pays de Loire
1st Stage 2 Giro del Trentino
3rd GP Ouest-France
4th Overall Tour de France
Held Maillot jaune Jersey yellow.svg from Stage 10–19
2012
1st Brabantse Pijl
Tour de France
1st Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification
1st Stages 10 & Stage 16
1st Stage 3 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo
4th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
5th Overall Four Days of Dunkirk
5th Amstel Gold Race
7th World Road Race Championships
8th Tour of Flanders
2013
1st Jersey orange.svg Overall Route du Sud
1st Stage 3
1st Jersey white.svg Overall Tour du Poitou-Charentes
1st Stage 4 (ITT)
1st Stage 6 Critérium du Dauphiné
2nd Tour du Doubs
2nd Grand Prix de Wallonie
5th Dwars door Vlaanderen
8th Milano–Torino
Jersey red number.svg Combativity award Stage 4 Tour de France

Grand Tour General Classification Results Timeline[edit]

Grand Tour 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Pink jersey Giro 135 WD 89 23
Yellow jersey Tour 119 18 124 89 66 97 67 76 4 26 65 42
golden jersey Vuelta 101

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Thomas Voeckler profile". 
  2. ^ "Team Europcar (EUC) – FRA". UCI World Tour. Union Cycliste Internationale. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b The secret life of Thomas Voeckler (2012-04-11). "The secret life of Thomas Voeckler | Cycle Sport". Cyclesportmag.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  4. ^ "Voeckler In Top Form For Liège-Bastogne-Liège". Cyclingnews.com. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  5. ^ Peter Scrivener (8 July 2009). "Live text – Tour de France". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  6. ^ a b James Fish (19 July 2010). "Voeckler Wins Tour de France Stage 15, Contador Takes Yellow". The Epoch Times. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Kirsten Frattini (11 September 2010). "Voeckler claims inaugural GP Québec". CyclingNews (Future Publishing LLC). Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Tour de France 2011: Car crashes into cyclists during ninth stage (Video) – The Early Lead. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 21 August 2011.
  9. ^ Thomas Voeckler : Un avenir doré ? | France Soir. Francesoir.fr. Retrieved on 21 August 2011.
  10. ^ Tour de France 2011 : Voeckler, Chavanel... Les salaires des Français !. Sportune.fr. Retrieved on 21 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Thomas Voeckler takes a rainy Brabantse Pijl alone". Velonation.com. 2012-04-11. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  12. ^ http://www.cyclingnews.com/amstel-gold-race/results
  13. ^ http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/04/race-result/liege-bastogne-liege-2012-results_214592
  14. ^ "Gabon/Cycling: Thomas Voeckler wins third lap of Tropicale Amissa Bongo, Gabon, more sports". Starafrica.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  15. ^ Cossins, Peter (11 July 2012). "Voeckler wins from breakaway in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine". Cycling News (Future Publishing Limited). Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Hymas, Peter (18 July 2012). "Voeckler solos to second Tour stage win". Cycling News (Future Publishing Limited). Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Bradley Wiggins wins 2012 Tour de France". BBC Sport. BBC. 22 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Shane Stokes (20 March 2013). "Gatto overhauls Voeckler for dramatic Dwars Door Vlaanderen success". VeloNation (VeloNation LLC). Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Voeckler out with broken collarbone". Cyclingnews.com (Future plc). 15 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Thomas Voeckler wins stage six of Criterium du Dauphine Libere". SI.com (Sports Illustrated). 7 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Rubber face: the Tour's most expressive man". Bike Radar (Future Publishing Limited). Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  22. ^ Jen See. "Monsieur Panache". bicycling.com (Bicycling). Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Voeckler Loses Out To Trotting Horse. Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved on 21 August 2011.

External links[edit]