Jens Voight has been announcing his retirement over the last several weeks, to the extent that it’s almost become a melodramatic affair.
However, the popular German cyclist has confirmed, that he will indeed hang-up his bike at the conclusion of this year’s USA Pro Challenge, which starts later their month.
"I think my fan base is almost the biggest here in the US, so why not finish here?" Voigt, told the media before the start of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah today. "Of course, if the team is in need of some riders for some races, I can jump in and still help out. But the plan is that this would be sort of like coming to an end here."
Fans in the USA will not only get an opportunity to cheer Voigt on over the next several weeks, but they’ll also have an opportunity to join Voigt in one of his favorite past times – "geocaching".
"Since I am a big geocaching fan, I made some special coins and I’m going to hide them somewhere," Voigt said. "They say ‘USA Pro Challenge 2014, goodbye and thank you, Jens Voigt.’ So I’m going to hide a few of them, maybe throw a Trek shirt or Trek jersey in there, or maybe a race number from the Tour de France. We’re going to hide them somewhere during, before or after the stages, and hopefully fans can go and find them and keep them as a souvenir."
Voight regards this as a way of thanking his fans, who have shown him unwavering support throughout his 20-year career, which has included no fewer than twenty-nine professional victories and participation in seventeen Tour de France races. In fact, according to Voigt, he still has a pile of more than 2,500 fan emails that were printed out for him, while he was recovering from a serious crash in the 2009 Tour.
"The fans have been a strong part of supporting me for all of my career and helped me also to go through some tougher times," he said. "So I really feel I owe them for supporting me for all these years, and I’m really happy that they stood by my side."
For his final two races, Voigt is asking his fans to continue encouraging him by yelling out his famous slogan "Shut Up Legs", and also be on the lookout for some "crazy stupid" tactics that he’s become known for.
"There’s no need to save energy anymore," he said. "I can throw it out whenever I want, just see what our tactics say and what the plan is for the team. If I get the freedom to go, I’ll definitely want to go out and show my face, and hopefully, yeah, try to grab a stage win somehow."
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