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Voeckler ‘under no illusions’ about keeping the yellow jersey

2011 Tour de France stage 10, Voeckler
Thomas Veockler in yellow draws lots of photos. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com
CARMAUX, France, July 12, 2011 (AFP) – Frenchman Thomas Voeckler said he is under no illusions over his guardianship of the Tour de France yellow jersey as the race heads steadily towards the Pyrenees mountains.
Alsace-born Voeckler made his name in cycling in 2004 when he wore the yellow jersey for 10 days, battling the inevitable onslaught of US Postal as Lance Armstrong strode towards his sixth victory on the race.

Having taken the overall lead for the first time since then after Sunday’s crash-marred ninth stage, the Frenchman isn’t expecting a repeat.

“I’m taking it day by day. What is sure is that I’m not going to keep it for 10 days,” said Voeckler, who finished 36th Tuesday at the same time as stage winner Andre Greipel.

After the 158 km ride from Aurillac the Europcar ride kept his lead of 1 minute 49 seconds on Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez of Rabobank.

A handful of more authentic contenders are in their wake, with Cadel Evans and the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank all within three minutes.

Earlier Tuesday Europcar sporting director Dominique Arnould said he hoped Voeckler would keep the yellow jersey after the first day in the high mountains, at Luz Ardiden on Thursday.

Voeckler, whose team is not guaranteed participation in all the WorldTour races because they are in cycling’s Pro Continental second division, was quick to remind his boss how hard their job is.

“It was really a beautiful day for me, seeing all the people cheering me on the edge of the road,” he added.

“But I’m under no illusions. We’re a second division team fighting against the best teams in the world. And we’ve got three guys here making their Tour de France debut.

“Tomorrow we’ll try and defend it as we did today. But it’s not so easy as it looks.”

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