Jens Voigt enjoyed a stellar career spanning three decades, during which time he won stages at the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, and won multiple stage races, including the Tour of Poland and five Critérium International titles.
Earning a reputation as one of the peloton’s toughest riders for his penchant for a day-long breakaway and his ability to seemingly suffer more than his rivals on the road, with Voigt’s “Shut up legs!” war cry quickly catching on, the German became a fans’ favourite before retiring in 2014.
But what goes on behind-the-scenes when you are preparing to put your rivals in the hurt locker? Voigt has already shared his advice on how to suffer like a pro with us, now it’s time to share two of Voigt’s favourite training sessions.
And typically for a man with a great tolerance for pain, it’s a leg-numbing interval session which he says helped get the best out of him on the road.
“A 40-20 session was a favourite,” Voigt told RoadCyclingUK. “A 40-second interval at 80rpm, with your wattage a little above your threshold [the maximum power or, if you don’t have a power meter, heart rate that you can sustain for an hour]. Then it’s 20 seconds recovery, trying to spin your legs as quick as you can, then back to 40 seconds.
“It can boost your maximum power output and also get your body used to the changing rhythm of racing if that’s what your target is,” Voigt says.
“On a climb, for example, an attack often is 40 seconds – nobody can put in a sustained attack for three minutes or more. I always found it got me more race fitness, as opposed to just miles.”