Thomas Voeckler, who captivated the French with his plucky performance in this year's Tour de France, found his two wheels were no match for four legs when he competed against a horse in a race on Wednesday evening.

"/> Thomas Voeckler, who captivated the French with his plucky performance in this year's Tour de France, found his two wheels were no match for four legs when he competed against a horse in a race on Wednesday evening.

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Tour de France rider competes against horse

Thomas Voeckler, who captivated the French with his plucky performance in this year's Tour de France, found his two wheels were no match for four legs when he competed against a horse in a race on Wednesday evening.

The race took place in the western coastal town of Sables d’Olonne, in the Loire region.

Voeckler was the best performing Frenchman in this year’s Tour de France, finishing fourth and wearing the coveted yellow jersey for ten days. 

He almost didn’t compete at all after his sponsor pulled out. His determined efforts and modest style won him many new fans and reignited interest in the annual race which dates back to 1903.

In the 380-metre race on Wednesday, in which the jockey sat in a two-wheeled cart behind the horse, as is common in French horse racing, he was pitted against a horse called Othello Bourbon ridden by the jockey Eric Raffin. 

8,000 people were there to watch the event and Voeckler got ahead of the horse on the first lap. However, his cycle power was no match for horse power as the thoroughbred moved ahead to win the race.

Races pitting horses against cyclists are common in France, and it is rare for horses to be beaten.

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MILITARY

Swiss army trains for French invasion

A bankrupt France tears itself apart into several regions, and one of them marches over the border to Switzerland to get back its stolen money. The Swiss army has this imaginary scenario covered, according to military simulations revealed over the weekend.

Swiss army trains for French invasion
"Operation Duplex-Barbara": Defend Switzerland and its stolen money from a breakaway French invasion. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Switzerland's army simulated a French attack against their country in training exercises in August, the newspaper Matin Dimanche revealed on Sunday.

The army imagined a scenario in which France was in financial turmoil and had split up into several regional entities.

One of these, “Saônia,” was preparing attacks on Switzerland to retrieve money it had apparently stolen from it.

Operation “Duplex-Barbara” was practiced at the end of August, according to the Swiss daily, and essentially involves the (existing) Jura region of eastern France breaking away from the rest of the country.

“Saônia” then launches the invasion across the Swiss border, with a pro-Saônian government paramilitary group, the BLD (Brigade Libre de Dijon) going “in search of the money Switzerland stole from Saônia,” according to Matin Dimanche.

IN PICTURES: France in the future – what could change

“The exercise has strictly nothing to do with France,” said Daniel Berger, captain of the Swiss armoured brigade.

“It was prepared in 2012 when fiscal relations between both countries were less tense,” he added.

SEE ALSO: French rush over the border to Switzerland – to escape tax hunt

Switzerland is famed for its bank secrecy laws, which critics say have enabled many clients to shield their wealth from the scrutiny of tax inspectors back home.

But these once sacrosanct laws are slowly being eroded as France and other countries such as the United States step up their fight against tax evasion in a troubled economic climate.

SEE ALSO: Swiss recruiters boycott “lazy and arrogant” French workers

In 2012 the Swiss army had imagined a different scenario: one in which they were faced with an influx of refugees after the euro currency had crashed and provoked social chaos in Europe.

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