Jens Voigt has described himself as the unknown rider amongst Saxo Bank’s strong eight-man line up for this week’s Tour of Missouri. The German rider has fully recovered from fractured cheek and jaw bones, suffered in a crash while descending the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard during stage 16 of this year’s Tour de France, and will return to the professional peloton in St. Louis today.
“Yes, I’ve recovered well,” said Voigt who has not raced since the accident. “It was a pretty bad crash, I would say. But I think it probably looked more impressive than it actually was. I guess I still have to consider myself half-way lucky that I could walk away from it without too many bad injuries. So I took it easy for a while so I’ve only been back in training for a short amount of time. We will see how it goes.”
Voigt is known as one of the most aggressive riders in the professional peloton, capable of repeated attacks and consistent performances. His motivation runs high, but after nearly six weeks out of competition the level of his fitness is yet to be revealed.
“I could completely be unknown because I haven’t raced since then,” Voigt said. “Maybe I could be in a breakaway tomorrow or maybe I could be in the [caravan] cars tomorrow and riding right in front of the broom wagon. We have to see how my head goes. Sometimes I go, ‘what’s my name again’, but it looks like I’ve recovered well.”
Team Saxo Bank brought a well rounded roster to the third edition of the Tour of Missouri. That includes Voigt along with Gustav Larsson, Jason McCartney, Chris Anker, Nicki Sørensen, Lars Bak, Markus Ljungquist and JJ Haedo.
“When you look at the profile and how the race went last years, we tried to send a team for all possibilities,” Voigt said. “We have a sprinter with Haedo, who basically came from racing in the US to our team and he knows the competition quite well. We have a good time triallist, if it comes down to a time trial, with Larson - who was second in the Olympics after [Fabian] Cancellara. For breakaways we have Bak, Sørensen and maybe me.”