What Would Jens Change?

Jens Voigt gave an extensive interview to an Australian cycling website. This section includes an interesting take on what it was like racing with Lance, and how he was able to beat Jens by fooling him into thinking he wasn’t hurting.

BNA: Are there any victories in your career that you would have swapped with a challenge or race that you lost?

Voigt: I am in a lucky position that I had a few good wins. Generally speak I am happy and satisfied.(…)

And then there is the Tour of Georgia [2004] which is a relatively small race, and let me think how it was. It was a hill top finish [Stage 4], a nasty steep climb with 39:25 in the back and Lance was in the Yellow Jersey and in the end it was just Lance, Bobby Julich and me from CSC and one Columbia [rider], but he was 5 minutes down in the race so he didn’t matter for us. Bobby Julich attacked, Lance chased him down and I counter-attacked and I dropped Lance. I dropped him for 20 or 30 seconds, he was really behind. But then he somehow managed to come back to me.

At the time it was only my first or second year with CSC and I just didn’t have the knowledge that I have now. He came to me and I swear he was about to die but he managed somehow to get to my wheel then he was totally playing cool. He probably was breathing as much as he could before, so when he came next to me he was [blows coolly out]. He looked that he was so in control and that intimidated me. I went ‘Damn, he’s there, I cannot drop him’.

I swear he was about to die but he managed somehow to get to my wheel then he was totally playing cool.

Later I saw pictures of us and behind me he looked like he was about to die. If I only would have been in this situation again, I would have waited until he came to my wheel and then sprinted. Make it or break it. If I explode at the finish, 5 or 6 or 7 down, who cares, but I think I had a fair chance of beating him, and how many people can say they did beat Lance. I am sure he was absolutely on the limit but he had a little bit more experience, a little bit more psychological power, he was a little bit more determined, a little bit more clever. He played it out and I fell for it. ‘Oh he looks so strong, he is unbeatable, I will finish second’.

So he won the stage race and I was second and I think I was so close to taking it. We even talked about it and he admitted he was about to give up – if only I would have been in that situation again I would try to change that.


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