German strongman Jens Voigt (CSC) made a blind couple's dreams come true, when he rode with them on a tandem. Last December, Katja Löffler sent a letter to Eurosport asking whether they could help give her husband Michael a special birthday present: some kind of training session with his favourite cyclist Jens Voigt. But it had to take place on a tandem, because both she and her husband are blind.
"Ulli Jansch from Eurosport asked me if I wanted to do it," Voigt commented on team-csc.com. "At first I was a little bit scared, not so much because Michael is blind, but I was afraid if I did this, perhaps a lot of people suddenly wanted me to participate in this and that. I mean, you can't please everybody, no matter how hard you try."
Voigt agreed, and a Eurosport commentator borrowed a racing tandem from disabled World Champion Manuela Fuchs, replaced the clipless pedals with normal ones, and picked up the Löffler family, who had travelled by train from Hamburg to Berlin. They met Jens at a quiet street in a forest near his home.
According to Jansch, it was a very warm, emotional scene, when Jens met the two Löfflers. He hugged them both and they started chatting as had he known them for a long time. "First I tried the tandem on my own, and then I rode with both Michael and Katja," said Voigt. "Obviously they don't see the corners, etc. but they can feel it and adapt to your movement, so it was really no problem at all, and I think they had a lot of fun."
The Löfflers couldn't believe their dream had come true, so they called friends and relatives to be sure it really happened. And then the climax; Jens invited them to his home for Christmas cookies. Michael and Katja asked a bunch of questions and they learned a lot about the life and the career of Jens. They were really happy, when they took the train back home.