Jens Voigt’s legs had one last thing to say

One of the many, many Jens Voigt jokes out there is that he can beat the hour record in under 60 minutes. It doesn’t quite work, because of course anyone who breaks the hour record does so in under 60 minutes.

As soon as you pass the previous best distance within your hour of riding, you become the new record holder. That’s what the hour record is – the furthest distance travelled in one hour of cycling. Exceed the distance in 59 minutes and you can just stop and wait out the last minute if you want. Jens didn’t do that. Jens rode on.

A record pretty much everyone’s happy with

Jens is just about the most popular cyclist there’s ever been and now he holds the hour record. He covered 51.115 kilometres – way more than the 49.7 kilometres of previous record holder, Ondrej Sosenka.

Someone will take it off him before too long, but that’s half the point. This was a symbolic moment.

The opaque way of putting it is that many people had doubts about the validity of Sosenka’s record. Thanks to rule changes concerning equipment used, it wasn’t the hardest record to beat, but someone needed to do it. Who better than Jens Voigt, who drew a lot of attention but won”t be too heartbroken when a time trialist takes it off him in a few months’ time?

Jens is happy. This was his final ride as a professional and he’s gone out in fine style; we’re happy, because Jens will always be one of the record holders; and the UCI are happy because a credible, but beatable target has been set for others.

Jens turned 43 yesterday. The crowd sang happy birthday to him after he’d finished. His legs can finally shut up now.