Every professional cyclist is passionate about the sport, but few can portray that enthusiasm to the general public like Jens Voigt. As the German takes part in his final race at the USA Pro Challenge, Cyclingnews gathered some tributes to Voigt from his former teammates, directors and breakaway companions.
Voigt built a cult of personality through both his exploits on the bike, by pouring all of his energy into often doomed solo attacks and, despite the knowledge that it was entirely likely that the breakaway would come to naught, Voigt went all in until the final dying moment.
His style was much like that of Jacky Durand, or even Thomas Voeckler, but Voigt was able to do something more than just attack on the road: his verbose, humerous interviews in English helped him connect with fans across the pond in America, creating a loyal fan-base here that even surpasses his support at home.
"Jens has built his career on racing with heart, with passion, and putting everything on the road every day," said Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare), who has spent numerous occasions in breakaways with Voigt during the German's frequent appearances in the US races like Tour of California and the USA Pro Challenge.
"Jens has so much energy, I can't wait to see what he pours that into," said former teammate Ben King. "I'd love to have him stay in the sport, just to have him around."
"The thing I'll miss most about Jens Voigt is how he shows all of us how he doesn't take one day of his life for granted," Tom Danielson said. "In a sport with so much sacrifice and room for failure, and so many disappointments, he always has a big smile on his face, regardless of what was happening or how he felt. No matter what, he loved his job, and that rubbed off on all of us. He absolutely made the most of every day of his life in the sport."
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