Thomas Voeckler goes down swinging, pedaling.
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.