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The combative French attacker told VeloNews that the biological passport and the UCI’s new no-needle policy are helping to create a cleaner racing environment.
“I don’t know if it’s 100 percent clean, but cycling is cleaner and cleaner every year,” Voeckler said before Friday’s stage. “It’s cleaner than it was 10 years ago, that much is sure.”
Voeckler captured the attention of French fans when defended the yellow jersey for 10 days during the 2004 Tour de France. Now 32, Voeckler is enjoying his best-ever season with six stage wins and two overall titles.
A winner of two Tour stage victories during his career, Voeckler has been on the attack in the opening week of the 2011 Tour. Bids for stage wins failed Wednesday and Thursday, but Voeckler vows to keep charging off the front until something sticks.
“It’s never easy to win at the Tour,” he said. “Three weeks is long, but it’s also very short. I know how it works at the Tour, sometimes you can have great legs and you can have no regrets.”
Voeckler says he’s racing “without concrete goals,” only with the intention of reaching Paris “without regrets.”
“I will attack when the legs feel good,” he promised. “Whether I win or not will not determine if I have a successful Tour.”
Farrar: head of class
No one can ever accuse Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) of being a stuck-up professional athlete.
No matter what happens in the race, Farrar always has time for a few moments with the media. And that was true again Friday, despite the disappointment of crashing with about 40km to go and losing options to challenge for a stage that he said was ideal for him.
After the stage, Farrar bid farewell to his mother, girlfriend and other friends who have been following along the first week of the Tour de France and disappeared into the Garmin team bus.
A few minutes later, just as the bus was preparing to drive away, he bound out of the bus and handed his torn and stained Garmin-Cervélo jersey to a surprised but very happy young French fan who was standing there.
Jerseys – shake ups in green, white jerseys
Yellow: Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) sprinted to seventh to defend the jersey for the sixth day: “Nearly a week in the jersey has been wonderful, but tomorrow I know I will lose it. Garmin will not ride to defend the jersey tomorrow.”
Green: José Rojas (Movistar) recovered the green jersey he lost two days ago when he was relegated in an intermediate sprint: “My main goal was to regain the green jersey, but I did one of my worst sprints in this Tour (ninth). It was really hard for me to get into position.”
Polka-dot jersey: There were no rated climbs, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) kept it without a challenge
White: Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) each lost more than three minutes, allowing Robert Gesink (Rabobank) to take the best young rider’s jersey.
Team: Garmin-Cervélo defended its grip on the team classification
Most aggressive: Yannick Talabardon (Saur-Sojasun) won the day’s prize
- Marcel Sieberg (Omega Pharma-Lotto), treatment to the left eye
- 132km: Rigoberto Uran (Sky), cuts to left thigh; Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack), cuts to left hand and trauma to right tibia
- 167km: Bradley Wiggins (Sky), broken left clavicle, transported to local hospital; Remi Pauriol (FDJ), broken right clavicle, transported to local hospital; Chris Horner (RadioShack), trauma to brain, loss of consciousness, followed during the remainder of race, transported to local hospital for observation; Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), cuts and scrapes to elbow
- 200CHF fines for following sport directors for driving infractions during the race (Article 12.1.040.25): Didier Rous (Cofidis); Alexandr Sheffer (Astana); Dimitry Konyshev (Katusha); Bingen Fernandez (Garmin-Cervelo)
- 100CHF fines for the following riders for public urination (Article 12.1.040.29): Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard-Trek); Thomas Geraint (Sky)
- 30CHF fines for “sticky water bottle,” bidon collé (Article 12.1.040.37): Sergio Paulinho (RadioShack); Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas); Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad)
- 50CHF fines for following sport directors for above infraction: Dirk Demol (RadioShack); Dario Mariuzzo (Liquigas); Brian Holm (HTC-Highroad)
The pack is down 190 riders. Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) succumbed to injuries from a crash two days ago and pulled out at 90km while Remi Pauriol (FDJ) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) each broke collarbones in a crash at 167km.
Stage 8 traverses the Cat. 2 Col de la Croix Saint-Robert at 164km, which is located within a protected natural zone. Tour officials ask that teams and riders do not throw trash while traversing this area.
Mostly cloudy with chance of scattered showers, southwesterly winds between 15kph to 20kph; highs between 19C-21C and around 14C at the top of the climbs