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“Jens Voigt doesn't age, he simply drops every year that catches up to him.”

Photo: Sirotti


17.12.2013 @ 11:48 Posted by Patrick Lorien

The remarkable German rider


One of the best ways of creating a new fan of professional cycling would be to put up Jens Voigt for display.


Outside cycling nobody knows him. He does not have huge fancy pancy sports-brand sponsor deals, he does not have a super-model girlfriend, and he can certainly not draw headlines with his mere presence. He is 42-years-old, which makes him the peloton's oldest rider, and he will not be winning a Grand Tour anytime soon; nor has he ever been near.


Within the ranks of cycling Jens is adored because he rides his bike with the joy of a thirteen-year-old boy who just had his first French kiss. Full throttle always.


He got about 40,000 followers immediately after opening his Twitter account, and the website links him to Chuck Norris-like attributes.


Please consider the following four quotes from the site, and imagine the person you would have to be, to be the focal point of such citations…


“Jens doesn't spin or mash the pedals, he kicks them into submission.”


“If by some incredible space-time paradox Jens could ever race himself, he would win.”


“Jens Voigt doesn't complain about what suffering does to him, but suffering constantly complains about getting picked on by Jens Voigt.”


“Jens Voigt doesn't age, he simply drops every year that catches up to him.”


Jens' thoughts on a potential career-stop, and on doping


Now the rider, who has “Shut up legs” written on his bike, speaks out in an in-depth interview with Cyclingnews, and he reveals that it is only “probablyhis last season:


“I still say it’s all probable because I don’t want to get myself too comfortable. If I say it’s my last year then I can say I don’t need to train anymore because I’m not looking for a contract. I don’t want that because I have too many expectations of myself and I don’t want to let myself down. That’s why I keep saying it’s probably my last season, to keep myself under a little bit of pressure. First of all I’m still a cyclist so I’m going to do my job but I will try and go with a more relaxed attitude. I will try and enjoy my first race at the Tour Down Under. Maybe next year I come back with another function in the team or as a tourist, who knows. It’s one last time to soak up the emotions from the fans and just enjoy the best from my job,” Voigt stated.


Voigt added that for him there are numerous reasons that has to take into consideration, and that retirement is not that simple.


“There’s a bigger picture. I’m married with six children so I can’t leave it to coincidence. I have a responsibility with my family so I have to develop a plan on how my life after cycling will look like. Where I’m going to work or where my income will come from because contrary to popular belief I’m not a millionaire. I’m not complaining, I’m well off but I have six kids, I live in Germany and pay my taxes. I’m not swimming in money so I can’t live for five years without any work."


"So I do have to develop a plan for what comes next. Just imagine we go out training tomorrow and I crash on the first roundabout and I break my collarbone. I’m going to say fuck I hate this job, this is a shit job, I want to stop now. But imagine on the other hand I go to Down Under, and on the third or fourth stage I slip into the break and nobody pays attention to me and I win. I then say this is the best job ever and I sign for four more years. I’m not a head person, I’m more of a heart and guts guy. That’s how I race. I don’t have a genius plan and sometimes it just comes into my mind and I just do it. But around the Tour I should make up my mind in what direction my future goes in.


Voigt has always been known for his anti-doping stance, and despite being in the midst of the “dirty” years, he has never been linked to the usage of illegal substances. Now he acknowledges that times back then were crazy, but also that the sport seems to have moved forward.


“Maybe it was just really crazy times back then and no one followed any rules. No one was going to be caught and everyone thought everyone was doing the same. It was maybe a really bad moment and period. When you come in there as a young guy and you have ten teammates telling you that if you want to ever win anything you have to do this and this. What do you do? You’re maybe twenty years old and ten guys tell you that… it’s just a bad moment but to come back to the present, I think we’ve reached a place or time when things are a lot better.”


“Quintana second in the Tour, Froome is younger, the world champion too. They were probably twelve years old when this all happened. They were playing on their Gameboy, playing Pokémon. What can they know about it and why should they suffer and face questions? It’s unfair towards them. I’m an older guy, I’ve seen those periods so I understand why you guys ask me as I was an eye witness and I was there. I can understand why you ask and that’s why I try and not to complain too much because I understand your point of view. But for the young kids… Peter Sagan was eight 15 years ago. He could probably hardly read back then.”


When asked about how he wanted people to perceive him as a cycling retiree Voigt stated:


“I think the way I want to be remembered is that people say I was a loyal, hard working rider, who always had a smile and if I’m really asking for a lot then I hope one or two people say that I inspired them. To get up after a crash, to get up after a bad result, or to get up after a mishap in life and to bounce back from it. Hopefully people thought that if Jens can do it maybe I can do it as well. Something like that.”


All hail the great Jensie, and lets hope this is indeed only “probably” his last season.


Hopefully he will ride another year… Two perhaps… Or even three!



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