(French pronunciation: tɔ.ma vœ.klɛʁ) (born 22 June 1979 in Schiltigheim
) is a French
professional road racing cyclist
who rides for the cycling team.
Voeckler has been a professional cyclist since 2001. He rides for , formerly known as Bbox Bouygues Telecom
, Bouygues Télécom
, Brioches la Boulangère
, and Bonjour
. He comes from the Alsace
region of France but later moved to Martinique
, where he was nicknamed "Ti-Blanc"
(petit blanc) due to his small stature and pale complexion. He is also known as le Chou-Chou
("Sweetheart"), perhaps because of his young looks and his habit of sticking out his tongue in races.
In 2003, Voeckler captured two stages and the overall title in the Tour de Luxembourg
. The following year, he suddenly rose to international prominence in the world of cycling. After seizing the French championship, the lightly regarded Voeckler entered the 2004 Tour de France
. After escaping with five other riders during the fifth stage, Voeckler gained significant time against the peloton
, and earned the yellow jersey (le maillot jaune
). Remarkably, he defended his jersey for ten days, even on stages not well-suited to his strengths. With the maillot jaune on his shoulders, and intense media attention all around him, Voeckler only rode stronger. He survived the dreaded Pyrenean
climbs, seconds ahead of the eventual winner, Lance Armstrong
. Voeckler finally surrendered the... Read More