Colnago -Team Europcar Round Up.

21 Feb

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Thomas Voeckler claims the Haut Var Crown

Thomas Voeckler finished second in Draguignan, after breaking clear of the peloton alongside Antonmarchi with 7km of the 207km stage remaining.Voeckler – who finished third in Saturday’s opening stage – has enjoyed a fine start to the season, adding the Haut Var crown to his opening-stage triumph at the Tour Mediterraneen a fortnight ago. Voeckler said, “A month and a half ago, I didn’t think I was going to go as well as I’ve done since the start of the season” .Jeremy Foy launched the first definitive escape of the stage, but was reeled in by the peloton on the final ascent of the Cote des Tuilieres.The trio of Pierre Roland (Europcar), Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun) launched the next attack, but were swallowed up soon after reaching the summit.Voeckler and Antomarchi then launched their decisive attack on the way back down the mountain, and forged a half-minute lead which they held for the remainder of the race. Assured of first place, Voeckler eased off the gas as the finish line neared – offering Antomarchi a first win of the season, and second place in the general classification.

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Thomas Voeckler Interview – Translated from French

Thomas, you started at the right time to get the Tour du Haut Var. Alone, it would have been difficult?
It is true that the arrival of Julien Antomarchi was beneficial to me, especially as I knew it worked well. In the Mediterranean Tour, I had already found. We had put a great attack in the Mont Faron on the last day. I knew I had no strength to décramponner Rinaldo Nocentini Tuilières the coast. I was aware of since arriving in Grimaud Saturday. I knew my only chance was after, following the attacks. I had an ally and it fell very well with Julien Antomarchi. On arrival, there is no gesture of Lord of me, that’s not it at all. Each had merely an interest to collaborate.

After your 3rd place in Grimaud, there was a stab to Draguignan, you think?
It must be said that a second overall, it’s nothing and it’s a lot at once. Arriving at the same time as Samuel Dumoulin and Rinaldo Nocentini, was lost to me, knowing that they are still faster than me. If I was in the same time as them after the first stage, I would perhaps not take many risks on the end. He was sure and certain that I did not have the legs to drop Nocentini in an ascent, as it is very good climber, so I knew I had to try after the last rib.

And it worked …
Yes, it worked, it’s easy to say now, but it sure it was this tactic that was used then. The objective was mainly from a lower-ranked runner than me but still well positioned for the general that his teammates play their card. It was mostly that is only two so that everyone plays something and rolls without ulterior motive. At three, it did more because we have started to calculate, there was the stage for him, the general for me.

The manner with which you seem to impose cheer you up?
On arrival at Grimaud Saturday it happened as I wanted, except that I was overtaken by two runners stronger than me. The guys put me as often. I received a very large group. Today, everything that could happen was better to win, finish third or 10th because no difference to me.

That mean to you Tour du Haut Var, you had already won two years ago?
In the years since my victory in 2009, the Tour du Haut Var is run over two days, but it remains the first semi-classical French calendar, preceded by two stage races in value. The Tour du Haut Var is an appointment. There were several teams of first division so it has much value. It has a special flavor to win, especially on two years apart. There is one and half months, I would not have thought it to be as operational early in the season.

Despite a stage victory in the Tour Méditerranéen and ultimate success in the Tour du Haut Var, you feel not even be at your best?
No, although I will not make the wrong modest either. But I admit that I still have work to do and I do not think 100% of my abilities. To summarize, this is a great day for Team Europcar and a nice start to the season. What is taken is taken and it’s been a few victories between Gabon, Bessèges, Tour Med and the Haut Var. A big hats off to all my teammates.

The fact of you being involved in the survival of the team this winter did it cost you in your preparation?
It would be inappropriate to say that because it’s probably my best start to a season with that of 2009. But we did a lot of noise around the arrival of Europcar, who came to save us all. We all rallied, we all supported Jean-Rene Bernaudeau in its efforts, through and beyond the limits. Today we do not regret when you see it happening as well in terms of results and level of the atmosphere. Now I am a runner, I can have an opinion, but since the introduction of the team, Jean-René knows that when I get home, I’m with my family and I did not think of the team . I may not be a rider like another but I do not spill my office. It is already that I’m leading the way, that’s enough, that’s my job. There are enough good people in the team to do the rest.

Europcar connects the victories but the French continue their festival since the beginning of the season?
Yes, that’s fine. So good, so it does not top 15 in the Tour de France and we do not win six stages as last year, we’ll still get slapped on the wrist, but we appreciate things when they are there .

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News on Anthony Charteau after his crash in South Africa.

Anthony Charteau has had to abandon the Tour of South Africa on Stage one after a bad crash. The winner of the 2010 Tour de France KOM title, dislocated his collarbone when he hit the ground hard with 50 kilometres remaining in the stage that started in Pretoria.

Anthony fell in no particular race situation and admitted it was entirely his fault. He said, “I looked behind to see where my teammates were and I touched a rear wheel. The crash was inevitable,” said the race favourite, who won the Tropicale Amissa Bongo three weeks ago.

He was imensley disappointed as the injury means a setback to his good form. He said,  “I have to get an MRI scan back in France to define the degree of the dislocation. Generally, this sort of injury means ten days off the bike. I’m bummed – this injury is definitely annoying. I had made the Tour of South Africa and Cholet Pays-de-Loire my objectives, and I am very disappointed.”

Anthony will still be able to race Cholet, the second round of the French Cup on March 20, but perhaps not on the same level. But all in all, he hoped to be back to his current form in one month.

 

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