Jens Voigt is set to spend another year in the peloton after renewing his contract with RadioShack-Nissan until the end of 2013. The popular German rider, who celebrates his 41st birthday in less than a month’s time, announced his plan to keep on riding yesterday before the start of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Durango, Colorado.
Already the oldest rider of those representing ProTeam outfits, Voigt’s work rate, toughness and attacking style combined with a sense of humour that often makes light of those traits, plus his ‘Shut Up Legs!’ catchphrase, makes him a firm favourite among fans.
His palmarès include three stage wins in the Tour de France – he also wore the maillot jaune on two occasions – one in the Giro d’Italia and five overall victories in the Criterium International, including three in succession between 2007 and 2009.
He joined Leopard Trek for the 2011 season from Saxo Bank, which he had joined, when it was called Team CSC, in 2004.
"I'm very happy to confirm that I will stay with the team for another year,” he said. “I have been a loyal rider throughout my career and I'm proud that I will be able to continue to share my experience with the boys and help them win.
“I had good offers from two other teams, but I'm pleased to stay where I am. I really wanted to ride for one more year and I'm convinced this is the right decision for me.
“When I told the boys, they were laughing that I said 'one more year' a year ago as well, but we'll see what the future brings. I'm almost 41 now, but I feel I can still be an asset to the team, so that's why I continue."
"I hope we can finish this season on a nice note and I'm already looking forward to next year.
"I'm convinced that we didn't get the most of this season, for a variety of reasons. We will learn from this season, as we always do at the end of a season and we will work even harder to be stronger.
"This decision takes a lot of weight of my shoulders. I can concentrate on the racing now, because the USA Pro Challenge is a very important race for us. My head is clear now; the focus is on."
Voigt’s announcement that he is staying with the team comes towards the end of what has been a challenging season for the Luxembourg-based outfit, with reports of financial problems, a breakdown in relationship between key riders and management, Andy Schleck fracturing his sacrum prior to the Tour de France, an injury that continues to keep him sidelined, and brother Frank testing positive for a banned diuretic.
Team manager Johan Bruyneel, meanwhile, has been charged alongside Lance Armstrong and others by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in connection with alleged doping activities prior to the formation last year of RadioShack-Nissan and is due to face an arbitration hearing later this year.
Speaking of Voigt’s decision to stay on for another year, Bruyneel said: "This is very good news for our team.
“Jens is of great importance for us and I'm glad and proud that he wants to stay with us. He's the perfect road captain. He proved that in the Tour de France this year, possibly his strongest Tour ever.
“Also the fact that several other teams were ready to sign him proves his value. Jens is really a school book example of a professional rider."
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.