Saturday, August 23, 2014

Aiiiigggghh! It's Real, It's Jens Voigt's Last Race! Aiiiiggghh!: His Career in Review #thankyoujens

Holy crap, it is *just* starting to sink in after yesterday's glorious, fruitless attack at the USA ProChallenge: it's really, truly Jens Voigt's last bike race, and let's face it, much as we'll all still love it, cycling is gonna absolutely blow for all eternity. Sob! Anyway, we can't let such greatness go unrecognized, so let's pay tribute the career, and palmares, of the King of the Breakaways:

9/17/71: Jens is born in East Germany. Doctors and nurses immediately have to give chase as baby Jensie grabs tricycle from visiting kid and takes off at full speed down hallway.

1984: Jens joins national sports school for track and field. Switches to cycling after friction from incredible velocity on foot accidentally vaporizes school's tracks and fields.

1997: Pro cycling career begins with Aussie squad ZVVZ-Giant, wins overall in Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt. In 1998, joins predecessor to Credit Agricole, where he spends the next five years giving the French yet another reason to cry about the state of their own cyclists.

1998: Holy crap Jens is the King of the Mountains on stage 9 of the Tour de France!

1997-2001: Jens attacks. All. The. Time. Like a Labrador retriever after a ball tossed 200k ahead of 'im to the finish line. Hell, he does that 'til 2014--goooooooooo Je--hey, where the hell *did* he go?

1999: Jens wins first Criterium International. Not bad for a whippersnapper!

2001: It's Jens' first Tour de France maillot jaune! Also bags 229-km flat stage 16 to Sarran. King of the Mountains, Lord of the Flats--what the heck *can't* he do?

2004: Jens joins Team CSC, where he will assist in blitzing Ivan Basso to his 2006 Giro d'Italia triumph. When Basso is implicated in massive Operacion Puerto doping scandal shortly thereafter, he pleads, "how the !@#$ else was I supposed to keep up with that guy?" Jens doesn't dope, dope Jenses!

2005: Jens gets second yellow jersey of his career. Also wins first of 3 career stages at the Tour of the Basque Country. Euskaltel unsuccessfully tries to recruit, but deal goes sour when they can't find a team bike big enough for him. Aw, and he'd've looked so chic in orange!

2006: Jens gets his second stage win of the Tour de France on its longest day (natch) from a breakaway (natch) with over 29 minutes over the rest of the field (natch). Woot woot Jensie!

2007: It's the Tour of California, baby! Jens grabs thrilla of a stage three and finishes on the final podium. What else would you expect?

2008: Did I mention Criterium International? Jens takes his 4th--count 'em, 4th!--as soigneurs rush to comfort disappointed competitors with binkies and pacifiers. Also takes stage in the we love the Giro d'Italia and helps herd CSC teammate wee Carlos Sastre to Tour de France overall victory. And that was *before* his morning caffeine kicked in!

2009: Jens sustains horrific crash on descent of Col-du-Petit-St. Bernard and is forced to abandon the Tour. Mountain immediately apologizes and crumbles into dust in penance. Jens, meanwhile, is put back together with 836 bottles of Krazy Glue, and attacks traffic on way home from hospital, beating it by 45 kilometers in a solo breakaway into a headwind. Get well soon Jens!

2010: Jens takes fifth Criterium International, which is now officially renamed the Criterium Screw This We All Know Who's Gonna Win Anyway So Why Don't We All Just Go Out And Grab A Beer Instead of Riding It. And damn, what is it with the Tour de France? Jens hits the deck hard on descent of the Peyresourde, smashes his bike, grabs some kid's, and fires away for 15 kilometers before catching up to a new bike left with a cop for him by his team. Just another day at the office!

2010-2014: Jens exclusively mans the team-bus coffee machine for teammates Fabian Cancellara and the Schleck brothers. Cancellara time-trials around globe in 24 hours propelled by single espresso shot.

2011: Jens joins Leopard-Trek, and damn lucky for *that* disaster of a squad, too! Finishes Tour of California stage with busted scaphoid. At press conference, Voigt shrugs he just kept saying "Shut up scaphoid!"

2012: Jens attacks (of course) the breakaway (of course) on Independence Pass (of course) for a 100km solo breakaway win at USA Pro Challenge (of course). Everyone on planet who uses word "epic" to describe any other bike feat but this one from now on summarily thwapped.

2013: Jens attacks (natch) from an 18-man breakaway (natch) with 5k to go to take stage 5 at the Tour of California (natch). Meantime, locates 963 geocaches in 18 minutes before sign-in on stage 3. Oh, and he's not retiring just yet. Woot woot!

2014: Jens rides his final--aiiiiiggggghhhhh! aiiigggghhhhh! I can't even say it! Aiiiiiigggghhhh! Anyway, *you* know what he rode. No no no no no no no!

And in case you think that's all--or that we're talking the total career palmares of like 50 guys here, rather than just one man--he also grabbed a total of 52-something career wins, wore out two massive steel shipping containers of Sharpies signing autographs, and hammered approximately 2.6 million kilometers of solo breakaway. And since most all his victories can be found on-line, but there's no way in hell to fit 'em all here, now, in a tribute to the master, a Day in the Life of Jens!

Well, I'm still in a state of total disbelief, gratitude, and preemptive mourning. Come back *soon* Jens--but I guess *after* you walk the dog!

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