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“I knew it was my last TT, second last stage of this race, and second last race of my life and I tried to give it all I had. There’s no reason for me to save energy anymore. It was hard."

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FRANK SCHLECK

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24.08.2014 @ 12:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Yesterday Jens Voigt did the final time trial of his long career and the German certainly didn't hold anything day. On the day when his teammate Matthew Busche held onto his top 5 in the overall standings, Voigt finished 18th after having provisionally been in third.

 

The penultimate stage's race against the clock was the last opportunity for determining the final podium and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) stamped his name solidly to the yellow jersey after finishing in a blistering time of 24:26, a full 53 seconds ahead of second placed Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp).  Danielson's second place, however, launched him from fourth to second overall, while Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) dropped out of the top three.

 

Matthew Busche, fifth last to start, needed to put in a gigantic effort to hold onto to his GC standing, and he managed to do just that.

 

Although he finished in ninth place (+2’20”) he did not lose time to his main rivals close to him in the standings and successfully held his 5thplace in the overall.

 

The 16-kilometer time trial was raced under cold, wet conditions but other than a few treacherous corners at the start, it was a straight shot, mostly uphill, finishing at the top of Vail Pass.

 

Trek Factory Racing placed five riders in the top 20: Fränk Schleck finished in 14th (+2’34”), Riccardo Zoidl 17th (+2’47”), Jens Voigt 18th (+2’49”) and Laurent Didier in 20th (+2’58”). 

 

Fränk Schleck was quite surprised when he had crossed the line with the current third best time, and he smiled about it after his race had finished:

 

“I started in the full rain, I almost crashed in the first corner and I really thought it was going to be a disaster with how it started," he said. "But I just did my rhythm, and with the altitude you don’t feel good anyway. I thought I was absolutely creeping. I was very surprised when I heard from the car that I was doing well. I was like, ‘yah, whatever.’  And then Jens was waiting on the finish line – good ol’ Jens – and he tapped me on the shoulder and he said I had the 3rdbest time. I was quite surprised. But at the same time I’ll take it!”

 

Jens Voigt, always the crowd favorite, left the start house to some of the biggest cheers for his final time trial of his career.  Sixth best at the 10-kilometer intermediate split he picked up his pace in the last six uphill kilometers to stop the clock – to the delight of the fans - with the third best provisional time. Although his time ultimately was bested by faster, and younger, riders, his final time trial was a respectable result.

 

He described his ride:

 

“I knew it was my last TT, second last stage of this race, and second last race of my life and I tried to give it all I had. There’s no reason for me to save energy anymore. It was hard. We had a good chat with Jorden [Roessingh, technical manager] before the stage and he said that maybe it is more effective if you don’t give it everything in the first flat bit, but to give it at the end because if you have a little bit of freshness in the end, you will gain more time there.  On the flat I had the 6th best time since I was holding back a little bit, and when I came to the finish I had the 3rd best time so I guess I followed the plan. Steady in the first part and all-in in the last.

 

"I was a little too excited when I caught the rider from Jamis [Sutter Home] in front of me and maybe overdid it a little there for that kilometer. In the end for the last kilometer I was just suffering. But then again it is a time trial and you always suffer in the later kilometers.

 

"I guess getting excited like that is one of my strengths. Every season when I get a brand new bike I am so happy like a child a Christmas. Then if you do the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia you get another new bike, and you again are totally excited; new jerseys, team kit, and you’re happy about that. I really believe that it’s a sign that I have the passion for it, and I just can’t help myself to get excited, and happy about it.

 

"At the start people were yelling and cheering so loud I barely could hear the start signal, then again the last 500 meters were so crazy - there was not much space left to pass between them. I was saying, ‘oh please don’t crash me fans. I mean I love you all, but please don’t crash me.’

 

"But it’s good! It feels good because seeing all these fans make me realize I touched a few people and they are inspired and support me, and that’s a real good feeling.”

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