Jens Voigt has every intention of animating the Tour of California during the next five stages before the race concludes in Thousand Oaks on Sunday. The German crowd pleaser will be looking for opportunities to win a stage while also focusing on Trek Factory Racing's overall contenders.
"I will definitely go for stage opportunities during the last five stages," Voigt told Cyclingnews. "I have looked at some of the stages that could present an opportunity for me; however, we always have to take it day-by-day."
Voigt placed ninth in the stage 2 time trial and went into stage 3 sitting in eighth place overall, 1:24 behind overall race leader Bradley Wiggins from Team Sky. He also has two teammates ahead of him in the overall with Jesse Sergent in fifth place, 1:11 back, and Markel Irizar, 1:21 back, while Haimar Zubeldia is sitting 28th overall, 2:10 behind.
Irizar's climbing skills make him a strong contender to move onto the top three overall following the third stage, which includes a climb over Mount Hamilton before finishing on Mount Diablo. Voigt will likely be working for his teammates heading into the final climb but the thought of winning the stage himself atop Mount Diablo has crossed his mind.
"Stage 3 is the first hilltop finish, so I would need five minutes at the bottom of the climb in order to make it," Voigt said. "If I have the freedom to ride in a breakaway, I will, but it depends on whether or not the team wants me to stay with our captain or just go out there and have fun."
Voigt animated the fifth stage of the Tour of California last year when he forced a battle in the crosswinds and made a late-race attack to win the race in Avila Beach. He says that his dramatic performances are not only important for winning races but also for building the entertainment value of the sport.
"It's not only my job to ride my bike but to entertain the crowds and the people," Voigt said. "This is a professional job and our sponsors are happy when they have their names and logos on national TV. I will definitely try to go out and be great, and spectacular. Hopefully it all works out for me this week."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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