By James Cavell
Karsten Kroon of CSC is not thoroughly enjoying the unseasonably warm weather in Europe. "Here in Limburg it hasn't rained for 24 days," he commented in his latest column for Dagblad van het Noorden. "For me this means one thing - hay fever alarm!"
The night before the Amstel Gold Race, Kroon found himself sharing a room with Jens Voigt, who is apparently "always up for a laugh." When Kroon warned him of his nocturnal sneezing fits, the German strong-man had a novel solution. "I'll just hold my pillow over your face until you stop," said the German menacingly.
Kroon was curious, and wondered if the race would go ahead should he be murdered in his sleep by a colleague. "Sure!" Voigt said. "There will be a minute's silence though, and if the police work out in time it was me who did it then I probably won't be allowed to start."
The following morning Kroon was relieved to find his sneezing had improved, and Voigt had not deemed it necessary to smother him to death. Thus the race went ahead, without a minute's silence, and with Voigt at the start.
Kroon desperately wanted to win the Amstel Gold race, "but that was not to be." However he is realistic, "that's what's so beautiful about sport," he explained. "It isn't science. If you could order your victories on demand it wouldn't be very interesting."
The Dutchman felt strong for most of the race, but the heat caused him to cramp in the finale. However, Kroon is rational in defeat, "That's it for [Amstel] this year, but there'll be more chances."
Kroon also revealed that there are not one but two biographies of Jens Voigt due to be released in the near future. The first book will cover his childhood in the East Germany and the second will detail his professional career.
"The intention was that there would be one book, with two authors, but they fell out with each other and now there are two books," he informed. On the morning of the Amstel Gold Race, he explained to Voigt that had he carried out his threat to murder the sneezing Kroon the sales of his biographies would have gone through the roof, and "seeing as you get a percentage of every sale it would be a double victory - rich and no sneezing Karsten anymore!"