Thursday, July 9, 2009


Many of you may remember Thomas from the 2004 Tour. He was in a breakaway in the first few days of the Tour that ended up 10 or so minutes in front of the peleton. He did not win the stage, or do anything that spectacular, he was the highest placed rider in the group and because of the time gap, he inherited the yellow jersey from a certain Lance Armstrong. US Postal did not want to defend the jersey through the flat windy early stages of the tour and let this group get ahead.
Most Americans do not understand the subtle nuances of European Stage racing. Many could not figure out who this young cyclist was and why was he in yellow. He doesn't have a smooth style, nor the strength to win a big tour. He is aggressive and gives his heart in every race I have seen him in. He is in lots of breakaways. After the 2004 Tour he was a big hero in France and I think they expected him to go on to bigger and better things. He is not that type of rider. He is a worker, a fighter and a chance taker. He has won around 20 races in his career. None of them big, not until yesterday. Yesterday he won a stage in the Tour, he won it the same way he got the yellow jersey all those years ago, by being aggressive and being in a breakaway from kilo 0. They were almost caught with 20 k to go, the lead was 38 seconds. He didn't give up. The next thing I knew he had over a minute with 10k to go. He was with a group of 6 and with 4 k to go he took off by himself. He won by 7 seconds with the main group charging in. His life has just changed by that 7 seconds.
When he crossed the line I had tears in my eyes. This guy has worked so hard for so many years and it has finally paid off. My hat is off to him. I am thinking that will be my favorite stage this year.
Check out this photo to see how happy Thomas Voeckler was.

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