Jens Voigt is exactly one day older than Lance Armstrong, and has been a professional rider for 16 years. But while Voigt is preparing to ride the Tour Down Under next week, Armstrong career is over after confessing to having doped his way to seven Tour de France wins – wins which have been taken away from him.
“I think that Armstrong has it hard enough these days. He has been punished enough now, he really struggles,” Voigt, of RadioShack-Leopard, told sporten.dk. “I think he feels that his life has changed now. For me it is important that he has made a clean sweep."
“He had pushed himself into a corner, so he had really no other option. He has always said 'no, no, no', but his only chance to get back to a normal life was to stand up and shut it all out. I think it has been a great burden for him, so I think he's very relieved now.”
The two never rode on the same team, but went up against each other often in races. Voigt said he was disappointed to hear the doping confession. “But it is good that the truth is out, and it is absolutely clear to everyone now. Now we learn from it so it never happens again. He says he began to dope in the mid-90s, and this is SO long ago by now. Now he has admitted, so we need to somehow connect this story. But of course it's not good news, and yes, I'm disappointed.”
Voigt, 41, said that he hopes the lesson of this will be “that everyone knows that no matter how big or small you are, then you will be taken if you cheat. All must learn that they must choose the road."
“When Armstrong began taking drugs, many of today's riders were 10-15 years old, so what do they know about doping? For them, Armstrong is just a name in a book or in a newspaper. They didn't ride with him, so they do not deserve to be hung up on something that happened 15 years ago. I hope we can move forward now.”