Retired German to take on record in Switzerland this month
Jens Voigt has announced that he will attempt to break the world hour record on September 18 in Grenchen, Switzerland. The German rider retiredfrom road racing at the USA Pro Challenge
bringing down the curtain on a career that has spanned three decades.
“Jensie here. I have big news, and I want Trek Factory Racing fans to be the first to hear it from me,” he said in press release issued by Trek.
Voigt had made hints of a possible attempt on Ondrej Sosenka’s record of 49,7 kilometres earlier in the day but his attempt will come as a surprise to many after months of speculation surrounding possible bids from Tony Martin and Voigt’s former teammate Fabian Cancellara.
“On September 18 in Grenchen, Switzerland, I am going to attempt to break the hour record mark of 49,7 km, previously set by Ondrej Sosenka. It’s a huge challenge for me, both physical and mental. This is a huge project and probably it’s going to come as a surprise for many people. We have been doing some discrete tests in the velodrome in Roubaix prior to the Dauphiné and we believe that I have a fair chance,” said Voigt.
“It’s a fascinating event: it’s super hard, but it’s a great discipline. Man and machine against the clock. A lot of logistics comes in play: when, where, how, etc. But I didn’t have to convince anybody: both Trek and our GM Luca Guercilena were all excited when I told them about my idea. They gave me a lot of support. Luckily we could use some of the blueprints that were being drawn for Fabian, so we kind of hit the ground running.”
Voigt turned professional in 1998 with the French team, GAN. He wore the yellow jersey and enjoyed stage wins in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. He also formed part of Carlos Sastre's team when the Spaniard won the Tour in 2008.
The German is a fan-favourite but brought down the curtain on his long road career last month. According to Voigt he sees the hour record attempt as one last farewell to his supports.
"I look at this as one last present for my fans. I want to give them something to smile about - before the final curtain falls. But also: I want to do a good performance. This is not a circus act. The ‘hour’ has lost some of its magic over the last years. Maybe my attempt could kick off a new round of hour-record attempts. I could establish a mark for everyone to give it a try. Make a bridge, you know. I raced against Boardman, Indurain and Sosenka. And I’m racing with Fabian and his generation. If I make it, it would be sandwiched between those names.”
“I can pave the way for them. I have no illusion to keep the record once Fabian and other specialists start having a go. But I kind of like the idea of telling me grand children about it, when they sit on my lap when I’m 75.”