Voigt recalls horror crash
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Voigt recalls horror crash

by Bjorn Haake at 12:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Jens Voigt had a horrific crash in this year's Tour de France, putting him off the bike for six weeks. With his ever so optimistic outlook on life the German bounced back into the Tour of Missouri and is now looking forward to another one of the infamous Saxo Bank survival camps.

Voigt recalled the time when he was unable to do anything. "The doctor told me: 'It was a serious fall on your head, you were unconscious, therefore no sport, no cycling, no spinning, nothing'. After those six weeks I slowly started to train again. Firstly, at the hospital where the doctor monitored whether something was wrong," Voigt told Czech website saxobanktakingthelead.com.

His positive attitude helped him along. "I never doubted, even for a second, that I would return. I am 38 years old and some perhaps thought that it was the end of my career. But, I did not want the fall to determine the last race of my career." He quickly put the rumors to rest that 2009 was to be his final year. "I am feeling quite well and I am happy on my bike. I love this sport, and I want to have some more experiences with it."

He also denied the initial reports that he didn't recognize his family. "Six hours after the crash and after the first operation, I could call my family." The bad part was initially he didn't know how bad the crash was. "We only knew that I would survive. But nobody was able to say whether I would be able to write my name again, to walk, or to do any sport." Unable to control it, all he could do was "to think positively and direct all my energy to my healing."

Voigt realizes that he was quite lucky and at 80 km/h, he could gone off the road or a motorcycle could have run him over. "It could have been my final crash," he says with a deep sigh. Chances are he won't have nightmares about it however. "I do not know how the fall happened. In my memory 30 minutes of my life are missing."

Once Voigt had some energy return to his body, the Energizer Voigty had a serious problem, as he was forbidden to ride a bike. "I had to sit at home, which was really very boring. I already had my energy, but I could not use it."

Voigt emphasized that he was not a crazy risk taker. "In our team we have some riders with good descending skills like [Stuart] O'Grady or [Fabian] Cancellara, but I have never been such a type." In a race, only hanging on counts. "I can't think about the risks in the race. And definitely not about the consequences of my crash at the Tour where I could have died. You need to stay with the riders ahead of you and keep up with them."

Crashes are common for pro racers, but many are just minor mishaps. "On average I have two or three a year. There are seasons when I avoid them completely, but sometimes I experience as many as seven."

He gets well prepared for tough situations with the famous Saxo Bak boot camp. "I like it. The survival camps are tough. You are out at night in the woods in a complete darkness; often you're hungry, cold, tired and have not a slightest idea of where you are. When you overcome everything, you are happy that you have "survived". And at the same time you learn to work as a team. The survival camp gives us strength every year."

Strength they will need in 2010, when Andy Schleck is their man for the Tour de France. Voigt is really looking forward to finishing "in Paris instead of lying in a hospital in central France." And offering his services to his teammates. "Andy is an excellent leader, able to win the Tour, even though I realize that it is very difficult to beat Contador. Contador is a complete rider, who is very strong in the mountains and time trials."



 

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