Oh yes—OH Yes. Jens is a long-standing question mark.
The rider himself wrote an epic denial of doping/recap of his career in Bicycling about a year-and-half ago in which he claims to have never doped, or been told to dope, or seen any signs of doping through his entire career (1997-2012, when the article was published). This span includes:
- East German (enough said) youth development school
- German amateur national team (Jan Ullrich was the amateur World Champ in ‘93)
- Festina Affair
- Team CSC (w/Riis, Hamilton, Basso, Jaksche, both Schlecks)
- Operation Puerto
- Two Tour of Germany wins (week-long stage race, w/mountains, TT)
- RadioShack (w/Armstrong, Bruyneel, etc)
It’s a pretty incredible tale, but at the same time, it’s told with that blunt earnestness that makes Jens an appealing dude. And it’s not entirely far-fetched.
Jon Vaughters has recalled on a few occasions that Gan/Credit Agricole, Jens’ first TdF team, was pretty clean. One of Jens’ Tour of Germany victories had a mountain stage cancelled from snow, and Voigt did progress from being a hardman for the flats (after an early stint in Yellow he was time cut halfway through the final Armstrong Tour) to more of an all-terrain lieutenant as his career progressed (and, presumably, doping reduced).
Voigt also clarifies that by signs of doping, he means first-hand evidence—he had his suspicions about some riders. Certainly, Jens is far more detailed about how he didn’t do drugs than any denier-turned-doper I can think of. Still, the references to his family and hard work are uncomfortably familiar.
I don’t think, ignoring the doping question, that there’s much to say against the guy. Despite being spat on and called a traitor, I’ve seen him in more fan pictures than I can count, and he’s always been forthright and unguarded, whether it’s an unfiltered interview, or riding a tandem with a blind dude.
I’m pretty meh about doping revelations from a certain time period. I definitely think it’s important to recognize the people who kept clean, but I’m also not shattered when I find out someone I liked didn’t. Either way, I’d probably still consider myself a fan of Jens