Thomas Voeckler plans to retire after the 2017 Tour de France

Direct Energie's French star Thomas Voeckler will retire from professional cycling after the 2017 Tour de France, he reveals on Twitter

Thomas Voeckler at the 2016 Tour de France (Gould)

(Image credit: Daniel Gould)

Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) hopes to retire after the race that has seen him produce some of his most memorable performances and bow out after the 2017 Tour de France.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the eccentric Frenchman confirmed that next season will be his last, with his plan to retire after riding down the Champs-Elysées one final time.

The epitome of a one-team rider, Voeckler has ridden for Direct Energie in its various guises since its inception as Bonjour in 2000, winning four stages of the Tour de France and finishing fourth overall in 2011, having worn yellow for nine days.

He tweeted: "Barring anything unforeseen, the end point of my sporting career will be the Champs-Elysées in 2017. No regrets, but not without emotion...thank you all."

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Voeckler set himself out as a fan favourite with his willingness to attack from long range and his never say die attitude in the peloton.

He won two stages of the 2012 Tour de France from breakaways, but it was his exploits in the previous year's race that really sparked the home nation's interest, taking yellow from the breakaway on stage nine and wearing it all the way to Alpe d'Huez.

He also held yellow for 10 days back in the 2004 Tour and in recent years won the hearts of the British fans with some strong performances in the Tour de Yorkshire. In the inaugural race, Voeckler finished third overall after some trademark attacks to finish behind Lars Petter Nordhaug on stage one in Scarborough.

The following year he went two better and beat Nicolas Roche in the seaside town to take the overall win, taking his tally to 13 stage race wins.

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