Interview with Jens Voigt
- by Betsy Baker
Santa Barbara Stage 6
I kid you not when I tell you that the folks at AMGEN and the race organizers
of the AMGEN Tour of California must have done a deal with the weather gods for
this race. It has been Chamber of Commerce weather the whole way and this
morning was certainly no different. Picture postcard venue with palm trees
lining the ocean front and fans milling about to see their favorite riders. The
fans are FANTASTIC.
My goal today is to find Jens Voigt and ask some questions. I also want to
have him sign two jerseys for me. The Team CSC motorhome pulls into their
assigned parking spot and Jens is sitting in the passenger seat. The fans for
Team CSC are all there waiting for a glimpse of any of the riders, Bobby Julich,
Stuart O’Grady, Christian Vandevelde but alas no Dave Z, who crashed out in the
second stage of the tour.
Jens is readying his bike and he graciously agreed to talk with me while
BB: Jens, are you surprised by your popularity with the American fans?
JV: Absolutely! I think I could run for the state of Texas governorship and
BB: Does your role as a representative for the pro riders have any impact
on how you are perceived/received in the peloton?
JV: Sometimes that makes things complicated. More people ask you questions
and they think you have an opinion about everything but, I am also just human.
No, I think that I am treated pretty much the same.
BB: If you could win any Classic, which one would it be and why?
JV: If I could win any one? I think it would be Liege Bastogne because it
is the hardest race ever.
BB: So after last year’s second place, you are out to win it this year?
JV: Umm, yeah I will try but since I am not 19 any more, I do not have many
BB: On that note, do you feel that since you turned pro at a later age,
will your career continue like Gilbert duclose lasalle who won Paris Roubaix
twice after turning 40?
JV: Ya, I still have to hope for that, we will have to see.
BB: Eddy Merckx has continued to ride his bike after retirement whilst
rumour has it that Bernard Hinault has never ridden a bike again. Both remain
heavily involved with cycling. Do you plan to continue to ride after your
JV: When I am done, I can tell you exactly. I am going to take that bike,
chain it up in the garage and watch the spider webs growing on it.
BB: So you don’t want your children to become professional cyclists?
JV: No I cannot imagine being nuts enough to keep going….Jeezus! Give me a
break! I suffered for twenty five years in this sport. If I am done with it, I
am done. I am not going to suffer any more, I am going to sit on my sofa and
play with the kids.
BB: Which win was the most important personally?
JV: Well I think that the one I liked the most was the win of Tour of
Germany last year. But the most important win professionally was the first
stage win in the Tour de France because basically it brought me to a whole new
level of how people see, how they recognize me. I received a huge boost from
that first stage win. So CAREER WISE it was important.
BB: So I have been told you enjoy beer, so what would you say that your
favorite beer is?
JV: I would say at the moment, it would be Corona.
JV: Yeah, it is good beer. Excuse me you are American, you have no idea
about great beer. You make good burgers and great jeans and stuff like that.
But about beer? You have no idea.
At this point someone from CSC comes up and mentions that the race is about
to start. Jens laughs and says no worries as he can always catch up. I thanked
him for his time and wearing a goofy grin, off I went.