Voigt shows plenty of life at Tour of California

Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Nissan) has some pretty big plans for his next trip to California. When asked if he will return in 2013 as a rider, team director or in some other capacity, the popular German didn't hesitate.

“Well, I was thinking more like I should become Governor,” he said after Saturday's Queen stage finish near the summit of Mt. Baldy. “I believe my English is almost as good as the one from Arnold [Schwarzenegger], so why not.”

Voigt has made some early campaign stops at the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, taking second behind Garmin-Barracuda's David Zabriske at the Bakersfield time trial and initiating the breakaway that launched teammate Chris Horner on his own courageous ride during Saturday's Queen stage to Mt Baldy. Voigt attacked on a wide boulevard as the field rolled out of Ontario at kilometre 0, prompting a breakaway that swelled to 11 riders before Horner and Columbia-Coldeportes' Jhon Atapuma jumped away with about 40km remaining in the 126km stage.

It was a move that didn't pan out, as Atapuma dropped Horner, who eventually finished sixth, on the final hors category ascent of Baldy, and Rabobank's Robert Gesink grabbed the stage win and overall lead. But Voigt said he and the team had no regrets.

“No, of course not, I mean we did what we could,” he said. “We did what we had to do. We did what we were expected to do. I had my TV time, and, you know, I enjoyed being in the sun. But seriously, we did what we could, and I think we did put on a show for the people. No, for sure it was not for nothing. It was a great day for the whole team.”

With at least three WorldTour teams gunning for the stage win and hoping to take over – or in Garmin-Barracuda's case – hang onto the yellow jersey, making an all day breakaway stick to the finish line was always a tall order.

“I think they all believed in their chances: Rabobank with Gesink and the BMC guys with TeJay [Van Garderen], they believed in their chance, and of course team Garmin with David Zabriske believed in their chance,” Voigt said. “So with three teams chasing, it's a lot of riders chasing, but that's just what cycling is.”

Radioshack-Nissan went for the big splash and fell just short, but Voigt was proud of the team's effort. “As I always used to say: If you go out and try to win you might lose,” he said. “But if you go out not even trying to win, you lose for sure. So we went out trying to get it big, and that's what we do.”

As for the serious answer to the original question about his plans for 2013, Voigt seemed primed for at least one more season in the peloton. “I mean in the moment, the shape is still good and I would say, 'Yeah, there's another year in me,'” he said. “But it's not getting easier. I'm 40 years old, so we'll see.”

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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.