…planning my escape
A work in progress
who’s better jens or lance?
Categories: Cycling, Thoughts

How do you compare bike riders, really? Ever since I started cycling in earnest I have to say that I have been in a one sided love/hate, mostly love, relationship with Lance Armstrong. His coming back to cycling last year was very interesting to watch. And watch I did. Especially the back of the bus videos from the Giro D’Italia. I distinctly remember the interview with Jens Voigt.

Lance, Levi and Jens — powered by http://www.livestrong.com

I like Jens comment “Lance pays me to come to all his races so that he’s not the oldest one here.” Their birthdays are one day apart with Jens the older of the two. Lance is also soon to be father of five just like Jens. The video got me thinking about both riders and then of course comparing them. So much fuss about Lance coming back to racing at the age of 37 (I think) all the while Jens is still there just grinding out the races for his team. And with great success. The entertainment value from watching him attack and ride aggressively is immeasurable in my opinion. How about the day he crashed in tdf ’09…

That was just unbearable to watch.

Season after season Jens is there getting the job done. How about this time excerpted from wikipedia:  Voigt rode the 2004 Tour de France for Team CSC captain Ivan Basso. Voigt and team mate Jakob Piil were often in breakaways, covering the break for CSC. On the 15th stage, Voigt was in a break as Ullrich attacked up the Col de l’Echarasson, leaving race leader Lance Armstrong and 2nd-placed Basso. With Armstrong’s team unable to pull Ullrich back in, Voigt was ordered back from his breakaway to help Basso defend his place. Voigt saw Ullrich ride past as he waited for his captain, before he single-handedly closed the gap to Ullrich.

I’ll never forget my up close and personal experience with him. It was at the ’09 Amgen Tour of California time trial in Solvang. I had nabbed the best place ever to watch the time trial. After the riders finished the race they were funnelled down an alley and back to their buses. I was stalking them at the sharp left immediately after the time trial. I saw every one of them when they were gasping for breath (except for Cavendish, he took it easy that day, no chance of winning anyway). I saw the doping police intercept George Hincapie right after his time trial demanding a sample of urine. They showed no mercy even though he asked for a little space. A signed receipt and they were on their way. So I was there to see Jens finish in 5th place that day with  an amazing display of physical strength coupled with a will of iron. Immediately after the TT he collapsed in the alley and sat on some random apartment stairs just collecting himself. I ran up to him and just stood there and watched. I was speechless. Brush with greatness. A crowd started forming as more and more people noticed my cat calls to the riders. Soon we were all standing there thinking Lance would be funneled down this same alleyway and OMG Lance Armstrong right before us. Well it was not to be. The Lance handlers were out in full force. He finished the TT (in 14th place) and was immediately escorted to the Astana bus without any interaction with anybody whatsoever. The crowd booed and booed and booed. What a slap in the face.

Anyway story is getting too long and I’m getting tired of writing. Lance has won the TDF many times. Jens has never won the TDF. Who’s better jens or lance? I mean what does it really come down to? Is it all just about the TDF? What do you think?

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