When a group of cyclists gather together, you can be sure a classic Jens Voigt quote won't be far behind. His sayings are beloved: always to the point, incisive, play to his hard-man image and often, well, just plain funny!
When Jens Voigt retired from the professional peloton at the end of the 2014 season, the sport lost not only one of its great characters, but also a rider who consistently raced with instinct and panache rarely seen in contemporary cycling.
He made no secret of the fact that he enjoyed inflicting pain on other riders, and the smiling German would inevitably find himself in the breakaway, where he would push the riders around him and the chasing pack to their very limits. His career spanned almost two decades and he rode his final Tour de France at the age of 42, which explains why he is held in such special affection by all the MAMILs* out there!
He remains a hugely popular figure, though more recently he has literally had to rein himself in, providing insightful commentary for ITV, whilst simultaneously juggling the hectic lifestyle that comes with having six young children! His catchphrases were many and memorable, which is why two of the best Jens Voigt quotes adorn our cycling T-shirts and mugs; his observations and post-race interviews were always entertaining, with a clarity of recollection that few can match.
Below is our selection of some of the very best Jens Voigt quotes. If we've missed one of your personal favourites, let us know in the comments.
- "Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do."
- “Beyond pain there is a whole new universe of more pain”
- “I get paid to hurt other people. How good is that? I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel. That's good."
- “Your lungs are burning and you have a little taste of blood in your mouth, but you keep going.”
- “If you go with a break, you can either win or not win. If you don't go with it, you definitely won't win.”
- “If it hurts me, it must hurt the other ones twice as much.”
- “They forgot rule number one in the cycling book: never leave 100 metres to Jens Voigt!” Having claimed the polka dot jersey after the opening stage of the 2104 TDF in Yorkshire, eclipsing his young rivals, Benoit Charrier and Nicolas Edet in the breakaway.
- "I gave everything in the last 20 minutes. I'm really happy with the distance: 51km is more than I imagined. It’s an intense event: there is no downhill, no hiding behind a teammate; it's like a breakaway when you don't want to be caught by the peloton." On breaking Hour record in Sept 2014
- “There are days where you are flying downhill in the rain at more than 70km per hour with just a helmet for protection, and then going uphill with a heart-rate of close to 200 bpm for an hour. When you are not on your bike, you live like a monk for three weeks. So, in Paris, you are just happy it is all over. You are allowed to be a normal man again and have a beer, have a dance and enjoy the music." On riding the Tour
- “Once I go I’m committed. Sometimes I have confidence beyond reason. I’m motherfucking Jens Voigt, so you’re not going to catch me! I don’t look back until they actually pass me.”’ Expanding on his mind-set having attacked late on during Stage 4 of the 2013 Tour of California.
- “The only place I feel good is my right ankle. The rest of me is all road rash. Well, obviously I have had better days than this, but I’m still alive! It’s better than last year. At this time of the race last year I was in hospital already. But this time I am still on my bike. I didn’t crash on my face, so things could be worse.” Talking to a Danish journalist on the finish line, having crashed at heavily when descending at 70mph during Stage 16 of the 2010 Tour.
- “Of course there is always a possibility to win the Tour. All it takes is for Five Astana guys to get attacked by a bear in the Pyrenees and they are out! Then we are just smokin’ and go easy all the way to Paris!” On the likelihood of a member of his team, Trek Factory Racing, winning the 2014 Tour de France.
- "I have only one piece of advice to give them. Save as much energy as you can and relax every time you have a chance." Advice for young cyclists starting their first Grand Tour.
- "It is the passion inside me that means I keep going. I love what I do and I think I am lucky to do it. When I am riding a quiet country road, I hear the birds singing and think ‘I am in my office now". On his longevity in the pro peloton.
- “I might end up looking like a prophet, or I may end up looking like a fool - but that is my podium.” On becoming a TV Commentator.
- “I am enjoying all the burgers and beers I want!” On retirement.
- "In the hierarchy of the family, I’m just above the dog.” On family life, with a wife, six kids...and a dog.
* MAMIL - Middle Aged Men In Lycra