Jens Voigt Gets Steamrolled by Sagan and the Peloton in Steamboat Springs
It looked like a boring day on paper. Quite boring, to be perfectly honest. With no truly exciting climbs dotting the course's elevation profile it looked to be a stage no one was going to be writing home about.
That is, until Jens Voigt took the day's proceedings into his own, very capable and very German hands.
A member of the day's breakaway along with Joshua Edmondson (Sky), Tyler Wren (Jamis-Hagens Bergman) David Villella (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly), Voigt and his breakaway companions bid adieu to the field with 157 kilometers to go and built a steady lead, eventually stretching out over five minutes on the peloton.
Fans were forced to content themselves with Colorado's exquisite scenery as the peloton was content to let the escape go along their merry way, drawing the drama down to next-to-nothing.
But, in a script we've seen before, Jens Voigt once again took the leading role, violently attacking the four other riders in the break, not once, but twice—with just over 50 kilometers to go—until he was left alone in a solo pilgrimage to the finish.
"I saw the move falling apart…I figured that attack would be the best defense," Voigt revealed after the stage.
Summiting the final climb of the day alone, and with two and a half minutes on his former break mates, and nearly four minutes, on the peloton, and a long descent to deliver him to the finish in Steamboat Springs, it was looking as if Voigt could very well stay away for the win.
Not content to let that happen however, was the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team of points-leader Peter Sagan. Throwing their men on the chase "they had a hell of a job" by race leader Lachlan Morton's (Garmin-Sharp) reckoning.
With a high-speed crash in the field threatening to disrupt the chase, Voigt soldiered on, his gap falling precipitously, with less than 30 seconds over the field at 3-kilometers to go.
So close to Steamboat, Voigt found himself running out of steam, as eventually he was overtaken as the peloton began a disorganized sprint to line.
But, put Sagan in even mediocre position near the line, and you initiate what has become an almost self-fulfilling prophecy—a dominant show of power and plenty of time to salute.
Following Sagan across the line were Luka Mezgec of Argos-Shimano and Ryan Anderson (Optum).
"I saw it coming a little bit, but I was still disappointed," Voigt acknowledged. Settling for the Most Courageous Rider jersey Voigt animated what would otherwise have been a decidedly pedestrian day at the races.
When asked if he was game for another go, Voigt was lightning-quick with a response.
"In less than a month I'm 42—I'm an old man—give me a rest here!"
Rest up Jens. Rest up.