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Video: What makes Jens Voigt tick?

“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.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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