BOURG-SAINT-MAURICE, France — Let’s pause and, for just a moment, put peloton politics and doping speculation and Contador versus Armstrong aside to celebrate the career of the most conscientious man in the business, Jens Voigt.
It was horrifying to see Voigt crash out of this Tour de France on Tuesday, not only because he is smart and honest and loyal and funny and tireless, but also because it happened in a place where he is usually in his element, flying down a mountainside on a mission.
Voigt lost control of his bike at high speed on the long descent of the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard in Stage 16, falling heavily on his right side and sliding a seemingly endless and agonizing distance before his body finally came to rest. Saxo Bank team spokesman Brian Nygaard said Voigt was airlifted to a hospital in Grenoble, where he was “scanned head to toe. … It’s not as bad as we feared.”
Nygaard said Voigt broke the orbital bone under one eye, has gashes on his right side that required stitches and suffered a concussion. He will be kept overnight for observation. According to Nygaard, Voigt was in good spirits considering the trauma, and sent a message to his teammates telling them he would be fine and that they should focus on racing.
Heal quickly, Jens … cycling needs riders like you.