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“I just refuse to get controlled by fear,” says much-loved Tour de France veteran

Is there a character in the peloton who’s loved by fans more than Jens Voigt? We doubt it, and in this video you can see why.

In #BELIEVE, Voigt talks about what keeps him going, his attitude to racing, his disastrous 2009 Tour de France and lots more.

His core motivation seems pretty simple. “I hate defeat,” he says. “I hate to lose. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be bitter to the end of my life cos I gave up too quick, too easy.

“I’m not much of a head person, I’m more of a belly and heart person. That’s also how I race. If I feel okay, the sun is shining, I feel like a short attack, I go.”

Coming round from the horrific crash that took him out of the 2009 Tour de France, Voigt says his first thought after he’d been stitched up was to let his family know he was okay.

“Around 10:30 at night I was clear enough that I could speak. I said ‘Hey I need a phone to call my family to let them know that I am still alive and I’m gonna be okay.’”

Voigt says he told his wife “There’s nothing that cannot be repaired. I remember you, I remember that we are married, I remember the names of all of our children, their birth dates. I’m fine, I just need time [to heal].”

It doesn’t sound like he’s afraid of a repeat. “I just refuse to get controlled by fear,” he says. “Every now and then you’ve just got to have self-belief beyond reason.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.