“Shut up, legs!” is the battle cry of Jens Voigt, one of the world’s toughest athletes.
He’s scored all kinds of awesome victories, come back from horrific crashes that nearly ended his career, and inspired millions along the way. But outside the sport of cycling, many have never even heard of him.
“Shut up, legs!” is what the charismatic German, who rides for the U.S.-based Trek Factory Racing team, screams down at his human pistons as they brim with lactic acid, when all they really want to do is cease to exist.
His message is always the same: Keep attacking, keep going, keep hurting for the win — no matter the pain. And that’s what’s inspired so many to love him. He’s a true cycling original.
Before he hangs up his bike, he’ll try for one last victory this week as he ends his 17-year racing career. He’ll likely be uttering his famous phrase, one of the most famous in all of cycling:
As befits a champion such as Voigt, his team came up with a gorgeous send-off package, including a custom bike with matching shoes and helmet. He’s donning a custom jersey and shorts to let everyone know it’s his last hurrah. His team-issued Madone 7 is a chrome-coloured vision that took Trek artists more than a week to perfectly polish, the company said.
Trek is the largest bicycle company headquartered in the U.S. and the largest bicycle manufacture in the country, according to the company. Voigt’s bike was made in Trek’s Waterloo, Wisconsin, factory.
Trek provided Business Insider with the following photos of Voigt’s custom bike and gear.
In an email to Business Insider, Eric Bjorling, director of brand communications for Trek, said, “Jens’ team-issued Madone 7 Series is worth roughly $US12,500. That would be for the team-issue spec. There may be a little variance depending on what wheel set he is riding and other odds and ends.”
The coolest and most colourful details are the frame’s top tube and down tube. The multicolored top tube features a variety of colours to represent his wife, six children, family dog, country, major victories, and teams.
Trek has incorporated social media into the package, encouraging fans to use the hashtag #FarewellJens to share their memories and best wishes. The brand says it has over 450,000 collective followers across social media platforms.
The really cool detail is all up and down the down tube, a tally representing Voigt’s many race wins over his career. In other words, all the poor souls who challenged him and lost:
Here’s the custom apparel and matching helmet and shoes:
Voigt is so popular there’s a dance track with his expressions sampled throughout:
As The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay put it, “It’s Voigt’s suffering that clinches his popularity. Cycling fetishizes pain — the more agony a rider can withstand, the more his or her legend grows. Voigt is a beautiful sufferer, sometimes a comical one … Stories about Voigt’s grit are abundant. The time he rode two stages of the Tour of California with a broken hand. The time he crashed, destroyed his own bike and had to borrow a tiny yellow kid’s bike with toe clip pedals to finish the race.”
All of this will help fans remember the one and only Jens Voigt.
You can watch this week’s USA Pro Challenge via NBC Sports.
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