While the French team is complete in Tokyo since Monday, Thomas Voeckler told France Televisions to have an idea in mind but sees his formation of five runners as an outsider during the road race of the Olympic Games, contested on the slopes of Mount Fuji.
Thomas Voeckler has never hidden it, he had to adapt to make his selection for the Olympics. While Julian Alaphilippe and Romain Bardet gave up making the trip but also faced the late return to competition of Thibaut Pinot, the coach of the France team had to review his plans. Rémi Cavagna, Benoît Cosnefroy, Kenny Elissonde, David Gaudu and Guillaume Martin will be present at the Musashinonomori Park in Tokyo for the start of a 234 km long race that will lead the peloton on the slopes of Mount Fuji. However, before preparing for the event, the riders exiting the Tour de France had to deal with the jet lag. “For the first day, it’s more in line with what we expected,” said Thomas Voeckler in an interview with France Televisions. The logistics that we have put in place have borne fruit in any case as we speak. Regarding the constraints of the Tour and the trip, we are in the best possible conditions. “While the riders are entitled to personalized preparation, the national coach has not yet discussed with them the strategy that will be put in place and the team leader. ” In my head I know it. However, I haven’t told them yet, confirmed the former wearer of the yellow jersey. They themselves do not know. It is voluntary, I want them to disconnect a little bit from the Tour de France mentally before being conditioned. “
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Just a few hours after setting foot on Japanese soil, @GuilmMartin, @KennyElissonde, @BenoitCosnefroy and @DavidGaudu have already trained with their coach Thomas Voeckler! pic.twitter.com/NHwt9cgxBR
– FFC (@FFCycling) July 20, 2021
Voeckler: “We are not favorites”
While a perfectly musical strategy sent Julian Alaphilippe to the world title in Imola last September, Thomas Voeckler is aware that it will be difficult to do the same in Tokyo. ” I don’t want to betray a secret, but we are not favorites, admits the national coach. This is not to offend my group, it is the truth. The strategy will obviously not be the same as in Imola. “The former champion of France sees his collective” in the role of outsider “, in particular against teams like Belgium, Slovenia and Italy, which will be able to count on riders like Remco Evenepoel, Greg Van Avermaet, Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic, Vincenzo Nibali or even Damiano Caruso on a very demanding course. However, Thomas Voeckler assures us that one should not expect a race under control, each nation being able to enter a maximum of five riders in a peloton which will contain 130 of them. ” We cannot compare the race of the world championships with that of the Olympic Games », Adds Thomas Voeckler who is more ambitious for the time trial scheduled for July 28 with Rémi Cavagna. ” We are lucky to have a rider who is above the rest in this discipline in France, assures the coach. It would have been unfair not to give him a chance given his consistency at the highest level since last year. “However, the boss of the Blues is measured:” I am convinced that we have someone who is medalist but who can very well finish 8th or 15th “. The answer will come on the track set up around Fuji International Speedway.