Thomas Voeckler is rock ‘n’ rolling this Tour de France. He looks like the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten snarling his way thru “Anarchy in the UK,” the version Francaise.
He’s French, he’s yellow, he’s suddenly on the board as a possible podium finisher. C’est Fou! Even Lance Armstrong is taking him seriously from back in Texas.
The Brothers Schleck are now keeping an eye on him when they’re not watching Alberto Contador’s knee. Cadel Evans had made a mental note not to yet him go anywhere too fast in the Alps. Ivan Basso is wondering when this Europcar guy is gonna fade.
Already popular in the home country, he’s now in the superstar categorie. Everyone from Tour boss Christen Prudhomme on down is thrilled.
The Tour experts on the radio wondered aloud if the pressure would get to him but one old sage rightly noted that there are a hundred riders who would love to switch places with Voeckler.
So far, so good. He’s talking a good game, saying the right things and enjoying the ride. Can he keep feeding off the hopes and good vibrations of an entire nation cheering up the Alps?
In his post-stage interview after the Col d’Aubisque, he said he has the form of his life and was surprised to still be riding up front with the Schlecks, Evans and Basso.
Several journalists asked him if the peloton was cleaner since he attempted to keep his yellow from Lance Armstrong back in 2004. His answer was that essentially you could draw whatever conclusions you wanted based on the fact that after three brutal days in the Pyrenees, he was still smiling and still wearing yellow.
In the last week of the tour, we’ll discover just how far Voeckler can go. Chin up, monsieur. Or should