Wednesday July 11th, 2012

Stage 10Mâcon / Bellegarde-sur-Valserine

Start 12h25 GMT 2+

Voeckler: I believed I could win only five metres before the finish

interview11.07.2012Stage 10- Mâcon / Bellegarde-sur-Valserine

Just starting the Tour in 2012 seemed like a triumph for Thomas Voeckler in a season in which he's been plagued with injuries but the Frenchman has again won a stage - his third in this race - and now he also leads the climbing classification.

“Early today I said to myself, ‘The breakaway can go and win the stage'… and I was confident but not too confident because there were many, many guys who are very strong. In the end, I believed I could win only five metres before the finish line. The last 500 metres was so hard that I was looking back; I saw [Jens] Voigt and [Luis] Sanchez and I thought it was over for me. It was very long, those final metres!
“You know, when you love something you have to give it all you can. For many years I've said that, for me, a good Tour de France is a Tour de France when you arrive in Paris and you can say to yourself that you have no regrets. Today I know that I can finish my Tour without regrets but that doesn't mean that I'll just stay in the peloton for the rest of the race.
“Two weeks before the start of the Tour de France, the Rud du Sud, I came to a halt and I had to abandon that race because of pain in my legs. I got in the car of one of our mechanics and I thought that, so close to the Tour, it wouldn't be possible to make it to this race. I had eight days off the bike and it was most upsetting… but today I was where I wanted to be.
“When I saw the composition of the lead group, I thought it was interesting because the break was likely to survive and but because of the quality of the riders in the escape I had to assess my options. When I got into the lead on the Col du Grand Colombier there was a chance to grab the polka-dot jersey, I thought it would be better than nothing. But, of course I kept thinking about the stage win, even though I had pain in my legs.
“It was good to find some strength during the stage but towards the end, I was treated like the man to beat. Every time I sped, the others followed, and when someone attacked, I was the one to chase. So when [Dries] Devenyns attacked, I told them to go without me. On a flat stage, that would have been the moment that the race was over, and he would have gone to win. But there was a good climb to the finish, and my director Andy Flickinger told me to try something and make sure that I had no regrets. Otherwise, I might have succumbed.
“The polka dot jersey… ah, you can not compare it to the yellow jersey. But this morning I had no chance to take the yellow. I've already worn the polka-dot jersey twice before this Tour, but never so late in the race. I thought about ‘Chartix' [Anthony Charteau] and how that got to Paris in 2010 with the polka-dot jersey. If it happened for him, I tell myself that I can also try. I will not let it go easily.”

Stage 10 Mâcon / Mâcon

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 20

Classifications after the stage 20


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