Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) is set to retire at the end of the 2014 season and while the 42-year-old's palmarès includes over 30 professional wins with two individual stages of the Tour de France and two stints in the Tour's yellow jersey as highlights, the German has never been one for the limelight.
Voigt's strength as a rouleur throughout his career has been his willingness to sacrifice for his team or snatch a win in breakaway. Two attributes that have defined Voigt's career has been his readiness to suffer and "almost die on the bike" to support his leader and his tenacity which has drawn admiration from the peloton and fans alike.
As he explained to inCycle, he developed his body to withstand a higher pain threshold than his rivals. "I just had a willpower, a desire to perform and I just kept on yelling at myself, 'they are only humans like me, they cannot drop you. They are only humans like you, they cannot be better than you.'"
With his 'Shut up Legs' mantra, Voigt continues to race aggressively in his farewell season. While he still knows "how to wins races," his body "cannot do it anymore" and he explains that its time to give back and share his racing knowledge with the next generation.
"I still now how it works, when to go, how to attack and what to do," Voigt explained to inCycle."I can pass on my knowledge and experience to the young kids and say 'If you go now, this and this will happen and you will see you will be good in the end."
Content with career, Voigt has no regrets but "you can always dream of another stage win at the Tour or a Tour of Britian, but I am pretty happy with how it is now."
When looking back at his carer, Voigt hopes that people will see him for more than the "number of watts pushed, calories burned or UCI points collected or wins collected." And instead will say, '"Hey that's Jens, he's a really hard worker. If he wins, that's because he deserves to win, if he doesn't win then he doesn't deserve to win because he wasn't strong enough.'"
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