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Legs to be told to “Shut up” for final time at this week’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge

The peloton is set to lose one of its most popular characters with confirmation from Jens Voigt that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which begins today, will be his final race.

The Trek Factory Racing rider said yesterday that he will be hanging up his wheels after the race, less than a month shy of his 43rd birthday and after 18 seasons as a professional. To mark the occasion, Trek have supplied him with a custom chrome Madone 7.

Quoted in the Denver Post, he said: "I had some great moments. I met some of the greatest people in the world. I am thankful for the sport of cycling and what it gave to me."

Long-time team mate Fränk Schleck added: "He always came to every single race willing to win. He was always great for the team, and the whole team will need that special push — and somebody who brews the coffee for us."

Voigt rode the Tour de France a record-equalling 17 times, beginning the last of those in the crowd-pleasing, attacking style that has endeared him to fans around the world, going on a solo break on Stage 1 from Leeds to Harrogate.

It didn’t stick, but he does have two stage wins in cycling’s biggest race, the second being this one from 2006 when he beat fellow escapee Oscar Pereiro to the victory, the pair crossing the line a full half hour ahead of the peloton.

If Voigt is known for one thing other than his buccaneering approach to riding, it’s his pithy witticisms, epitomised by what has become his catchphrase, “Shut up legs!” and typified in this interview.

And here he is being realistic about Andy Schleck’s prospects of winning the Tour de France in 2009, when his team mate finished runner-up to then Astana rider, Alberto Contador.

Finally, here’s Voigt talking to road.cc’s own Mat at Eurobike in 2010.

Retirement means that Voigt will have the opportunity to spend more time with his wife and six children, although he clearly knows his place in the household, having once said: “In the hierarchy of the family, I’m just above the dog. But I like it that way.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

13 comments

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CJSTEVENS1955 [86 posts] 1 year ago
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Lets hope no one does a 'Kristoff' to Jens.

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s_lim [177 posts] 1 year ago
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Good luck to Jens in retirement, he's brought great entertainment over the years, and cycling will be poorer without him.

All hail his worthy successor, Adam Hansen.

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mikroos [257 posts] 1 year ago
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Legend.

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pedalpowerDC [334 posts] 1 year ago
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I was really hoping he'd finish things off at the Quebec WT races since I usually go to them . . .

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Northernbike [229 posts] 1 year ago
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it was great to see Jens here in July doing what Jens does best, riding out on front like there was no tomorrow - bike racing will miss him

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Simon E [2721 posts] 1 year ago
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Northernbike wrote:

it was great to see Jens here in July doing what Jens does best, riding out on front like there was no tomorrow - bike racing will miss him

Absolutely. Jens seems a genuinely lovely fellow, his demeanour off the bike has surely made him as many fans as his exploits on it.

One of my favourite scenes from this year's Tour was watching him riding alone through the huge crowds on Buttertubs on his way to the polka dot jersey and the combativity prize. I cannot begin to imagine what it felt like for him.

This is a photo I keep returning to:
https://twitter.com/liverpoolmerc/status/485499278014840832
It looks even better if you click through to the bigger version.

And of course he just had to attack in Paris:

"I felt it was almost an obligation to entertain the fans one last time... That is the way I knew I must say good-bye."
More at http://www.trekfactoryracing.com/news/reflections-successful-tour

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SteppenHerring [328 posts] 1 year ago
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We'll miss him.

I have an idea though. Live they have "the verdict" after the cricket where pundits talk through the day's play, have something similar for grand tours but fronted by Jens and David Millar. It could work.

Meanwhile: Jens no longer has a shadow. After being repeatedly dropped, it finally climbed into the team car muttering about a stomach complaint.

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notfastenough [3681 posts] 1 year ago
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Awesome rider, and a real personality to have in the sport. I think I might paint shut up legs on the garage floor in front of the turbo in his honour!

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MrsK [43 posts] 1 year ago
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Is he writing a book? I reckon he'd be a great writer. Having that depth of experience and knowledge with clearly some interesting opinions, some of which I think he's held back..... It would also be funny.

He's a fantastic fellow. It will be sad not to see him.

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notfastenough [3681 posts] 1 year ago
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I'd definitely buy his memoirs!

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stealth [254 posts] 1 year ago
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I heard him commentating on Eurosport(?) once, he was brilliant!!
Good luck with whatever you decide to do Jens.

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J90 [333 posts] 1 year ago
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The video that Orica Greenedge filmed on the last stage of the TDF, featuring Jens, is funny.
A true legend, modest, funny and exciting. Not sure there will be too many more like him, if at all.

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Leviathan [1978 posts] 1 year ago
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Is the Era that is ending a geological one, like the Holocene?