Voigt to begin goodbye at Tour Down Under; Frank Schleck to start

The popular German is expected to retire from pro cycling at the end of next season

Jens Voigt, the popular German known as the “grandfather” of the peloton, will begin his career adieu at the Santos Tour Down Under in January.

Voigt, who will turn 43 during the 2014 racing season, all but confirmed that the 2014 season will be his last.

“I will start my ‘farewell tour’ at the Tour Down Under,” Voigt said in a race release. “I’m really looking forward to racing there again, and meeting with the fans in Australia, who are very enthusiastic.”

Voigt left his mark last year in the season opener by going on a from-the-gun attack in the opening criterium, much to the delight of fans lining the course.

Voigt, who also won a stage in the Amgen Tour of California last year, vows to go out fighting.

“The [Tour Down Under] has almost become like a ritual for me,” he said. “Adelaide was the starting point of my season the past few years. As it looks like 2014 is going to be my last season, it’s going to be even more special.”

The race will also mark the comeback of Frank Schleck, who tested positive for a banned substance during the 2012 Tour de France and served a reduced, one-year ban.

Though his ban was completed midway through 2013, RadioShack-Leopard did not bring him back to the squad, forcing him to remain on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

The elder of the Schleck brothers, however, will be back on the Trek Factory Team lineup for 2014.

Also slated to make their respective debuts for Trek will be the Van Poppel brothers, Italian Fabio Felline, and Calvin Watson, a young Australian talent who is part of Trek’s youth movement for 2014 and beyond.

The Tour Down Under is set from January 19-26 in Adelaide, Australia.