Voigt hopes to race the Tour de France one more time
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Voigt hopes to race the Tour de France one more time

by Neil Browne at 8:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

After a horrific crash during the 16th stage of the 2009 Tour de France, Saxo Bank rider Jens Voigt's career could have come to an end. On the descent of the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard he hit a bump in the road which caused him to lose control of his bike. The incident sent him crashing to the ground at high speed head first. He suffered a cheekbone fracture, concussion and was unconscious for several minutes.

At the time of the accident the bigger question wasn't his return to cycling, but his long-term health.

Voigt displayed the 'hard-man' qualities that made him a fan favorite by returning to the peloton a few months later at the Tour of Missouri. During the race he told reporters he had fully recovered from his accident.

Now, eight months on from his crash at the Tour, he is wearing the leader's jersey at Paris-Nice. At a press conference after stage 3, Voigt spoke about his season so far.

“At the Tour Down Under, I was not in good shape. I then went training in Mallorca with the Schleck brothers (Andy and Frank) and took part in the Trophy of Mallorca."

After his time in Mallroca he showed a return to form with a solid fourth place overall in last month's Ruta del Sol. In today's Paris-Nice stage he crossed the line in fourth place which was enough to give the German the race lead.

Voigt recounted the final kilometers of today's race. "After the last climb, I was really on the edge. Alberto (Contador) wanted me to help him in the final kilometers but I was really exhausted."

Voigt is wearing yellow, but he joked that he should actually be given another jersey to wear as well. "Really, I think they should have a distinctive gray jersey for riders over 35."

Voigt realizes that his retirement is coming sooner than later, and his goal for the season is to return to the Tour de France. With that in mind, he is hoping to be selected for Saxo Bank's Tour team for one more ride into Paris. "I do not want to leave it [the Tour de France] after that stupid crash," he said. "I want to see the Champs Elysees, say thank you and goodbye to the Tour de France."

“I hope that Bjarne (Riis) picks me, because it might be my last Tour. I am 38 and there are some younger guys coming up. I’d like to be able to make it to the Champs-Elysees and take a lap of honor and say thank you and goodbye to the Tour de France,” said Voigt.

If Voigt is selected to the Tour it would be his thirteenth participation in the world's biggest bike race.

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