It may be hard to fathom that Jens Voigt's trip to Paris on Wednesday was the first time in his lengthy career that he's attended the Tour de France route presentation, but better late than never for the ever-quotable German.
Voigt, 42, has started the Tour 16 straight times since 1998 and he's hoping that as part of the new Trek Factory Racing team in 2014 he'll close out what's expected to be his final year in the professional peloton with another Tour de France participation.
When interviewed by Cyclingnews following the unveiling of the 2014 route, Voigt was quick to comment about the challenges and pageantry of the Tour's opening stages in Great Britain.
"I saw a lot of little and winding country roads in Yorkshire so that's going to be pretty challenging and stressing for us but beautiful and spectacular images for the viewers," said Voigt.
Another early challenge in the 2014 Tour de France will be the sectors of Paris-Roubaix pave present in stage 5. Voigt has a vivid recollection of the dangers that cobbles engender in the peloton as he witnessed his teammate Fränk Schleck crash and break his collarbone in the 2010 Tour during the Tour's last foray onto northern France pave.
"I'm 50-50 [on including pave sectors again]," said Voigt. "I like it because it will produce spectacular images and it's going to be big drama, but it's pretty stressful and dangerous for us so that's why maybe I don't like it so much on a personal point of view."
In this interview with Cyclingnews at the Tour presentation in Paris, Voigt weighs in on the 2014 route, the Trek Factory Team's expectations for next season as well as a typically blunt assessment of how he thinks the re-united Schleck brothers will perform.
To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, click here.