JENS VOIGT

The 2018 sea­son is done and dusted, so Jens re lects on his high­lights of the year

Procycling - - CONTENTS -

Our race colum­nist on the lat­est events

An­other road cy­cling sea­son has ended, so it’s time to look back at the year in full. At the spring Clas­sics, we saw a thrilling fi­nal at Mi­lan-San Remo, with a bril­liant Vin­cenzo Nibali out­fox­ing the sprint­ers’ teams and tak­ing the win in glory. In Paris-Roubaix, it was the strong­est in­di­vid­ual rider who won the race, not the strong­est team. We all ex­pected an­other Quick-Step win but in­stead, af­ter years of try­ing, Pe­ter Sagan got it right. We saw ac­tion in the Ar­dennes Clas­sics, with both Am­s­tel and Liège be­ing won with dar­ing breaks in­stead of the races be­ing de­cided on the fin­ish­ing straight.

And, of course, we all re­mem­ber Chris Froome’s heroic and epic bat­tle to turn the whole Giro d’Italia GC up­side down with his 80km solo. That was, for me, the most thrilling and ex­cit­ing mo­ment of the year. He re­ally put it all on the line there, and took a risky tac­ti­cal de­ci­sion. But hey, what do the Bri­tish SAS say? “Who dares wins.” And that’s what he did.

Here comes my lit­tle mo­ment of pride. For years,

I have said that no Giro win­ner will win the Tour in the same year, and my the­ory sur­vived an­other year as Geraint Thomas won in Paris. I couldn’t have been hap­pier for any rider than I was for him. I have known him for many years and apart from be­ing a great bike rider, he is sim­ply a good man and a re­ally hum­ble hu­man. We all re­mem­ber his tears of hap­pi­ness when he won and when his wife sur­prised him just be­fore the end. He was for many years one the hard­est-work­ing team mem­bers, showed loy­alty and helped Froome win the Tour. He is the best ex­am­ple of karma. Good things come to good peo­ple. From an emo­tional point of view, this was my high­light of the year – a lit­tle fairy­tale.

The se­cond re­mark­able thing about the Tour was the mass ex­o­dus of the sprint­ers. No big sprinter sur­vived apart from Sagan, who, af­ter his crash in the moun­tains, was un­able to fight for the win in Paris. It was a sprint of the sur­vivors there, be­tween riders who couldn’t win in

"Geraint Thomas is the best ex­am­ple of karma. Good things come to good peo­ple. From an emo­tional point of view, his Tour win was my high­light”

the first week. But hey, this is cy­cling. It’s not al­ways the strong­est or fastest who wins. Guts, grit and per­se­ver­ance play a re­ally big part in our sport and these riders fought and suf­fered all the way to the end.

The Tour of Spain fi­nally had a happy end for the Yates fam­ily, af­ter Si­mon missed out on the Giro win. It was fan­tas­tic rid­ing by the whole team. Also there, the bril­liant form of Valverde showed a hint of who was the favourite for the Worlds. Ale­jan­dro did not dis­ap­point and de­liv­ered like a true champ. He pre­sented his brand new world cham­pion’s jer­sey at the Ital­ian Clas­sics and he did ride well, but could not stop Thibaut Pinot who took his big­gest win ever at Il Lom­bar­dia.

If I could have one wish for next year, it would be that Mitchel­ton-Scott for­gets about the Giro and sends both Yates twins and Este­ban Chavez fresh, ready and hun­gry to the Tour. They would cause chaos and may­hem to­gether in the moun­tains. And we would all love to watch that spec­ta­cle, right?!

Jens Voigt

re­tired in 2014 fol­low­ing an 18-year ca­reer as one of the sport's most loved and at­tack­ing riders. He held the Hour Record for 42 days. Com­men­ta­tors never did agree how to pro­nounce his name.

Jens loved Froome’s at­tack at the Giro, which se­cured the Bri­ton’s GC win

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