Thomas Voeckler goes down swinging, pedaling.

Voeckler. 15 minutes after Alp d'Huez. photo twisted spoke

Nobody in France faults Thomas Voeckler.

Eleven proud and courageous days in le maillot jaune. FIghting his way through the Pyrenees and then battling to keep his jersey on the legendary climbs of the Alps, the Galibier, Col d’Izoard, Telegraphe, and then most of the way up the fearsome Alp d’Huez.

WHen Voekcler began having his troubles on the north face of the Glaibier, nobody in France really fauled Voeckler for anything. He’d done a sacre coup, a sacre numero, as the French like to say. He’d been bold and strong and tenacious — and throw in some panache.

The Frenchman fell to fourth on GC, behind the brothers Schleck and Cadel Evans, roughly 1:13 behind the Australian in third. Is the podium out of the question? Nobody is claiming Voeckler can beat Evans or Andy Shcleck riding to win his frist Tour de France. Maybe Frank will fall of his bike.

After the finish at Alp d’Huez, I did the high speed hike another two kilometers to the team hotels. By chance, I was in the right place at the right time when Thomas Voeckler handed his yellow colnago to a mechanic, accepted cobgratualtions from a few team eprsonal, then sat down on the Europcar steps.

He looked weary, cored out, spent from those eleven days in yellow. He bowed his head, his blew off some steam, frustations, detailed his day. Our French isn’t bad but not skilled enough for that translation.

There was no mistaling his attitude: I did the best I possiblly could and no regrets. France agrees.

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  • This is the story we'll remember, years from now when somebody says, "Who won the Tour in 2011…again? You know, the one that Voeckler led for 11 days?"

    • Paula, do you have the guest bedroom all ready for me for the Tour of Colorado? Just needed to light a fire. Matt

  • All ready. You're still skinny, right? After all these days in France…? Great, then, there's room.

  • This guy turned himself inside out to stay in the jersey just one more day. It was beyond category.

    • There's no questioning his force of will. You can't help but not like him. Matt

  • Great shot of Voeckler, eh? – TS got the mad foto skillz too!!?

    • I had to hike my ass uphill fast to get that shot. Just got lucky. Half the team hotels were ABOVE alp d'huez! riders had to keep climbing to get a shower, dinner and bed. Matt

  • Some are criticizing Rolland for not sticking by Voeckler and going for the win, but I just read that Voeckler encouraged his teammate onward=absolute class on Voeckler's part.

    • Yeah, I don't know what the story is on that. I only know that I saw Voeckler about 15 minutes after the stage and he only looked disappointed for himself, and didn't say a word about Rolland's amazing win. Now, Thomas seems like a great guy but still …. that felt odd. Matt

      • Phil slator

        Nothing but respect for Voeckler after this year's Tour. He did so much more than was expected of him.

      • He gave blood everyday on the mountains. I wish he had taken the third sport on the podium instead of Frank. Matt