“Actually I think I made up my mind. I’ll probably do one more year as a bike rider.” were the first words out of Jens Voigt‘s mouth at the 2012 Larry H Miller Tour of Utah press conference on Monday afternoon,
Though the signs were there that the 40-year old Radioshack-Nissan rider would continue in the peloton, he had never stated it until now.
It makes sense for the German to announce it on American soil, he simply loves to race here.
“So hopefully I get the whole American circuit next year again, starting with California and then Utah and Colorado again. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the comeback of the Tour de Georgia and Tour of Missouri. I’ve always loved races here. I did all of them.”
He likes the fact that fans here cheer for all the riders. “I noticed in California this year again, I was somewhere in the bunch, the climbers were fighting it out for the win and I swear every second person on the climb was (saying) ‘shut up legs’” Voigt laughed. “The group looked at me (and said) ‘I think you’re popular here’. I like to come back.”
Later that evening, the Utah fans showed their love, cheering the loudest and longest for Voigt during the team presentation in Ogden, Utah.
American racing. “We definitely see that American cycling in general is growing.” he said.
“The whole level, the number and the quality of riders get better, there are a lot more American riders on the European teams. The races are getting better and bigger here. You have been there in California since the beginning, you have seen the development of it so hopefully we have a bright future and this momentum keeps going.”
One American rider that Voigt praised, with no prompting, is reigning USA National road champion Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale) who sitting a few chairs over on the dais.
“I’m in the sport for quite some years and I see that Timmy is the first guy that they send out.” Voigt then mimicked the voice of a DS to say “Timmy ride tempo.”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s uphill, downhill, rain or something. Very often Timmy is the first guy to ride when there’s no TV camera out there. So you guys probably don’t know how good he is and how strong and loyal he is. I think once a year if he rides for himself, he has a chance of winning. Pretty brilliant. I think we see a champion in the making here. I wanted to take a chance to praise him a little bit because he’s a very good rider.”
Utah. “It’s very very hot out there so it promises to be a very demanding hard race. “ said Voigt who is making his first appearance at the Tour of Utah.
Like all the other riders, he will have to battle heat and altitude during the very tough race. An added challenge is jetlag.
“There is no magic to do we have to accept the given circumstances.” Voigt said of the difficulties caused by jetlag. “They say one hour timezone like changes is one day to adapt so that means we should have been here five days ago which is not always possible just for pure reason of logistics. We came three days ago and hope that the first day is not exactly killer, so we have a little, little, little chance of riding a little bit and then we should be good.”