Book Briefly Noted, Title Shut Up, Legs!, Author Jens Voigt, James D. Startt, Rating 3.0,
Jens Voigt was a wonderful cyclist to watch in the Tour de France. He was an aggressive rider, willing to attack in breakaways with few odds of success, friendly and available before and after a race. His motto, 'Shut Up, Legs!,' can be appreciated by anyone who rides bicycles long distance, or any endurance athlete for that matter: Muscular pain from exertion must be ignored in the pursuit of endurance feats.
Jens describes his life in professional cycling in this amiable autobiography, with many interesting anecdotes and some detail about what professional cycling is like behind the scenes.
About the only annoying aspect of the book were the obligatory passages about his dismay at drug usage in his sport: He claimed that he never used drugs, and had harsh words to say about the many cyclists that did during his era. I didn’t find his protestations of innocence very credible, as he was developed into a professional cyclist by the East German sports machine, which notoriously used drugs in every sport. Other East German cyclists of his era were caught with drugs, notably Jan Ullrich, a cyclist perennially on the Tour de France podium.
That being said, it is clear that nearly all, if not all, cyclists of his and Armstrong’s generation used drugs; certainly ALL of the champions of that era. There is some evidence that drug cheating has gone on since the early days of professional cycling at the beginning of the 20th century. All of the greats have been implicated, one way or another, in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, including the great multi-year champions of the Tour de France, such as Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Alberto Contador, and of course, Lance Armstrong.
Yet I still watch and enjoy professional cycling, because they all still suffer greatly with or without the drugs, and I still enjoy the enthusiasm of Jens Voigt.