It’s always a delight to see the beaming face of German legend Jens Voigt at the Santos Tour Down Under.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

The morning after touching down from an exhausting flight from Europe, and despite Adelaide's intense heatwave conditions, Jensie was willing to accommodate and have a chat with a story to tell.

Minutes after completing his first training ride with the new-look Trek Factory Racing team, I couldn't help but reflect on our parallel careers in the sport, and fondly reminded him of the coincidence.

Fact: Jensie started his career as an elite cyclist the same year I started pushing out stories as a cycling reporter.

Fact: We never appeared in a photo together in all that time, until now.

It was 1993 when I first came across this young former East Berliner who possessed an Aussie twang in a broad German accent.

After 22 years of watching Jens progress through the pro-ranks, from topping the podium and wearing the Maillot Jaune at the Tour de France to the many crashes and injuries and pain he has suffered, we've all come to love "The Jensie".

Donald Bradman's career last 20 years, recently-retired Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer also joined the rare 20-year club, but for Jensie to still be jumping on two wheels after 22 years is difficult to comprehend.

Jensie was a member of the very powerful and talented Bosch-sponsored team which entered Australia's premier cycling tour at the time, the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic.

He looks back on the race as more of an "adventure" than a time when he cut his teeth as a rising star.

Then, the young Jensie was rather reserved and quite shy far away from the expansive personality we've all come to know and appreciate these days.

The Bank Classic, as it was known, weaved its way down Australia's eastern seaboard visiting various coastal resort towns in New South Wales before ending with a traditional criterium in Canberra.

They were the days when SBS followed the week-long race by broadcasting half-hour highlights and crossing live from the location of every stage finish.

The way the event was covered for TV was a forerunner to what we see today on SBS each July.

The Bank Classic attracted a large contingent of young internationals, many of whom had gone on to become household names (for various reasons) appearing in big races such as the Tour de France.

Jensie mixed it with his German teammates which included Jan Ullrich, Erik Zabel, Thomas Liese and Mike Weissmann.

The Bosch boys were magnificent and no rider was above any other, all were equal.

Jens has revealed this will be last year on the circuit but haven't we heard that before?

Either way, let's treat his last TDU as the start of farewell tour.

Jensie will probably retreat to his German lifestyle playing Dad to his six children.

Hopefully, I'll still pushing stories as a cycling reporter for many years yet.

Thanks for the memories – legend!