Thomas Voeckler’s stint in yellow back in 2004 wasn’t really an appropriate introduction. It cast him as some rosy-cheeked no-hoper, struggling against the Masters of the Cycling Universe to retain the TdF race lead for one more meaningless day.
It’s a story that plays well in the press, but really, it couldn’t be further from Voeckler’s class or character as a rider. He’s more killer than caretaker—think Vinokourov or DiLuca, with a little more smarts and a lot less dope.
His victories, ranging from straightforward affairs like today’s win to just-crazy-enough solo moves, have taken place at some of the sport’s biggest events: he’s stolen Tour stages, wrapped up overall wins a couple multi-day events, and even took one of the best races no one cares about.
But to finally wash the saccharine taste of 2004 out of everyone’s mouth, he needs a big-name one-day win. With his hot streak this spring (he was extremely active at Omloop and KBK, and in addition to today has wins at Haut Var and Tour Med) he might be a dark horse for Amstel, Fleche, or Liege. The only new trick he’ll need to learn is how to handle the extra distance of a full-on classic.