Jens Voigt has finally faced the fact that he will now probably never win the Tour de France. "At 38 years old, I have finally realised and accepted that." The Saxo Bank rider, well known for his sense of humour, is not yet ready to stick his bike in the corner and forget about, though.
He very much enjoys being "a part of this machine, part of his clockwork that must function perfectly in order to help one of the Schleck brothers to the Tour de France win," Voigt said in an interview with Eurosport.de.
Plus, he added, he doesn't feel that he has given everything yet. He is not ready to call it quits. "I'm not at that point yet, and I absolutely don't want to be a bitter old man who grumbles: if only I had ridden another half year.
"It doesn't have to end with a win, but I want to decide myself when it is time, and not be forced into it."
The German also disclosed his special relationship with Lance Armstrong. When they race together, he says, the American comes to him and says, "I'm safe, I'm not the oldest here." Voigt is one day older than Armstrong.
He thinks that Armstrong might be able to win the Tour in 2010. "Bjarne Riis is not so optimistic, but I believe he can do it. He didn't miss it by much this year, and next time he will have another season in his legs, that he can use." Voigt concluded, "I think the podium could look very similar to this year: one of the Schlecks, Contador and Lance."
Voigt also addressed the return of Ivan Basso and Alexander Vinokourov to the peloton. He called Basso "the nicest, friendliest, most loyal person you can imagine," one who has paid for his transgressions. Vinokourov left the 2007 Tour in a doping scandal, but has also paid his time and is back. "That's just the way it is. You have to give the guys a chance."