Jens Voigt, the veteran RadioShack-Nissan rider and winner of stage 4 this week at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, said Friday that he hopes the ongoing battle between Lance Armstrong and USADA is finally over so that cycling can move forward and look to the future.
"I just hope that it's finally going to actually come to an end," Voigt said before the stage 5 start in Breckenridge. "I mean we're probably not going to solve everything with the trial of it, but I just hope it comes to an end so we can actually – not start fresh – but, OK, now we draw a line where that is the past and we just let it rest in peace now.
"Some of it is like eight years, 10 years, or whatever how many years back, so we will go, OK, we will close that now and just start looking forward and try to make our sport, good clean, proper in the future," he said.
The soon-to-be-41-year-old also said he hopes to serve as an example for the next generation of riders coming into the professional ranks.
"Well, I hope that I'm allowed to say or be an example, where I can say, 'Look guys, I was in cycling during the hard times, and I'm still here, still alive and able to do my job," the popular German said. "The body is still doing it. [I want] to show the kids, look, there is no shortcut."
Voigt, who has become famous for his sense of humor and for telling his body to "shut up legs" when they are screaming at him to quit, also said there is more to a cyclist's job than simply going first in races, adding that winning over fans with a reputation for hard work and integrity holds its own value.
"This is a sport where you need a lot of dedication and hard work, and if you stick by the rules you're going to have a long career, and people like you for that," he said. "Maybe I'm not a multi-billionaire, but you know, I actually won the crowd, and that's something important. Focus on the better part of our sport, entertain the people, be straight."
Voigt said a clear conscience is also the reward for avoiding the "short cuts" that lead to doping allegations and busts.
"[Thursday] I had to go to doping control after my stage win," he said. "And I know that even if they freeze it for 100 years and tested it with new methods 100 years from now, it's my win, because nothing is going to happen.
"There is nothing in my urine sample, so I can sleep," he continued. "I can go with my kids, go for a swim, go for a barbecue, go to the zoo, go geocaching and don't be afraid that people might point their fingers at me. I think that's really worth the effort. I'm trying to teach the kids: go straight in life and you will be rewarded for that."
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.