"I do know it’s going to be pretty hard on my body" says Jens Voigt on evening before Hour attempt
On the eve of his Hour ride, Jens Voigt admitted that he knew exactly how tough the event can be. Three-time Hour Record breaker Chris Boardman was his first roommate as a young pro in the Credit Agricole team in 1997, and Voigt was there for the final Boardman Hour in 2000:
“I was lucky to be friends with Chris, and to be there at his last hour record in Manchester,” Voigt said. “I remember we had breakfast together the next day, with his family and mine, and he could hardly walk. So I do know it’s going to be pretty hard on my body.”
Boardman isn’t the only record holder Voigt has been in touch with:
“My coach here, Daniel Gisiger, the Swiss national track coach, held the amateur record once himself. So he has explained me a few things to me, like how to ride, how to approach it mentally. I also had a brief meeting with Tony Rominger [who broke the record in 1994] this morning, he was here at the track and we exchanged a few words and experiences.”
For his part, Chris Boardman said he was interested to see how his old roommate fared. “It’s going to be a bit messy, I suspect. Just how you ride the track can add up to hundreds of metres over an hour. How he’ll do is real guesswork, there are so many variables. But sticking my thumb in the air… maybe 51km, or something thereabouts.”
Voigt has worked hard on his trackcraft, though. “I’m not a typical track rider,” he said. “So it’s hard to stay on the black line in the corners, not to drift up. The further up you go, the longer you make the lap. So I had to work hard on that. And it’s also hard to keep the position – the shoulders in, the head down to make the air flow smoothly. You can get super-aero, but it’s difficult to hold that position for an hour and be able to pedal and to breathe: maybe if you squeeze your shoulders together a little bit more, you are a bit more aero but you can’t breathe. We have found a good compromise.
“Our DS Adriano Baffi came to see me, and said, ‘Wow, you are looking pretty good.’ Heiko Salzwedel [former Australian, British and Danish track coach] came by, he is now working for the Swiss federation, and he said it was a good position for somebody who has just come from the road. I think for me and my shape and for what I want to do, we have an ideal position.”