September 25, 2016

Tour of Utah

The Tour of Utah runs through rugged routes of  Utah’s scenic back country

jens voight

The fan’s clear favorite in Salt Lake City’s Stage Four of the Tour of Utah was German-born Jens Voigt, riding for Team RadioShack. He was the only rider who had posters in his honor, asking him to become Utah’s next governor. Voigt, at 41, is the oldest rider in the UCI tour, and is considered a top pacer in the sport, or better put, a workhorse. Voigt, who has been a professional cyclist for over 20 years, has no problem in this supporting role. He is working for younger riders, allowing them to ride in his slipstream to help them up mountains to win the exhausting stages.

Watching Voigt in the 2013 Tour de France, Voigt repeatedly demonstrated that with his older legs he still can break away from the peloton and climb mountains and at least come very close to winning stages. He demonstrated this in Utah on two occasions. First in Salt Lake City, he hung with the breakaway leaders through most of the 35 punishing miles to remain a top contender, then again in the toughest stage of the race, at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, he pushed the leaders hard.

Voigt grew up in East Germany. In Salt Lake City the announcer asked him, “What did you know or hear about Utah or the United States when you were on the other side of the Iron Curtain?”

Voigt responded, “Where I lived, you were the enemy behind the Iron Curtain. You were the ones suffering, we were enjoying freedom! That’s what they told us.”

He added that he was very happy to be in Utah. During Utah’s race, Voigt, who was scheduled to retire after this year, signed another one-year contract to continue his bicycle racing career.

Tom Danielson, Team Garmin-Sharp, bested all other to win the 2013 Tour of Utah. The best local riders were Jeff Louder (BMC) and David Zabriskie (Garmin Slipstream). §