Shorts: Voeckler, Jalabert, Armstrong
Thomas Voeckler re-signs with Bouygues, another marathon for Jalabert, Armstrong to the Tour after a
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Thomas Voeckler has signed a new contract with his Bouygues Telecom squad until the end of 2008. Despite the attention being heaped on current French road champion Florent Brard (Caisse d’Epargne), Voeckler is still fondly remembered by the Tour crowd for his heroics at the 2004 race, when, wearing that year’s champion’s jersey, he took the yellow jersey and put up a courageous fight against Lance Armstrong. “Thomas has shown himself to be a real leader in this team,” Bouygues manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau enthused of Voeckler’s contract extension. “I’ve been really encouraged by the talks we’ve had together about his visions for this team. He has some great ideas, and has made some interesting propositions for our future.”
– Laurent Jalabert is planning to run a third marathon, and is hoping to better his previous two times. After recording two hours 55 minutes in New York last year, and two hours 55 minutes in London in April, he’s hoping to go one better in Chicago on October 22. Apparently, though, his work on the Tour as a commentator is preventing him training as much as he’d like: he’s 3 kilos over his in-form weight.
– The latest rumours in the will he-won’t he saga of whether non-defending Tour champion Lance Armstrong will put in an appearance at the race is that the American is planning to turn up for the final week to support the Discovery Channel team, with whom he is still involved. Armstrong or no Armstrong, Basso or no Basso, Ullrich or no Ullrich – the Tour marches on, and it’s the spectacle, not the individual riders, that the majority of the millions of roadside fans turn out for.