“I can’t ask for a better goodbye than this,” Voigt said after he beat Ondřej Sosenka’s record by more than a kilometre. “My only thoughts were to not over pace, to focus on holding the black line and to stay aero – no side thoughts. 51.1- yeah I am pretty happy.”
After 17 years as a professional cyclist, Voigt retired from road racing at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August. He couldn’t sit still for long though and announced his intentions to attempt the record less then two weeks after hanging up his wheels. When the rules on equipment was relaxed earlier this year, a number of riders stated their interest in taking on the challenge – including Voigt’s teammate Fabian Cancellara – but the Trek Factory Racing rider is the first to get on the track and set a new benchmark.
“I always had it in mind that I wanted to do this, but we could not announce it in Colorado because we did not know when, or where,” he explained. “I knew that I would keep going and kept on training. I was three weeks at the track and only going home on the weekends. The kids were complaining about that and it was a big effort in terms of commitment.”
Voigt made his attempt at the Velodrome Suisse, riding on a specially decorated Trek bike to mark the occasion. Known for his irrepressible attacking nature, Voigt could hardly contain himself when the gun went, but he had to reign himself and ride a controlled pace.
“I started as usual too fast, but that is just me I can’t control myself, and I realized that I was a second faster on the first lap,” said Voigt. “The first 10 minutes I could not feel the pedals and thought, ‘Oh this is easy!’ Then I went, ‘oooooh, maybe you’d better pace yourself a little bit here.”
His times leveled out after a blistering opening few laps, as Voigt settled into his rhythm, before going all out in the final 10 minutes. At one point he could be seen momentarily standing up on the pedals, in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure on his behind.
“I remember how Chris Boardman was walking after his effort and I am not far off from that. I am basically limping. It hurts in my glutes,” Voigt concluded. “I am happy that I don’t have to sit on the saddle for the next days now.”