Riding is Life


Jens Voigt has been hacked

Shut up, hackers.

Photo: Kramon

Retired German cyclist Jens Voigt is known for many things: his ‘shut up legs’ catchphrase, his many kilometres spent in oft-futile breakaways, his hour record, and his heavily-accented commentary. Today on Twitter, however, he’s added a new string to his bow – the latest hacking victim in the cycling scene. 

Voigt is not a prolific Twitter user; his account (@thejensie) was last active in April 2021, with an objectively funny run of tweets identifying a duck, celebrating a freshly mown lawn (“shut up lawn”), and outlining his vision for Berlin’s new airport:

So with a back-catalogue like that, you will understand that the sudden flurry of activity from his Twitter profile today was a clear indication to Voigt’s 227,800 followers that something might be amiss. The content of the tweets was the other giveaway, with a clear tone-shift away from whimsy and toward the darker fringes of the internet. 

Just like Primož Roglič a week ago – and boy, wasn’t that a wild ride – the hacked Voigt was suddenly interested in cryptocurrency. There were also some more troubling views put forth. To choose some personal highlights, we’re talking about references to a Twitter account belonging to an individual alleging they are a former CIA agent “code name RAVEN … being pursued by the CIA and a psycho US senator”; there are also some fairly left-field allegations of German state-sanctioned “torture of Turkish citizens in a black site near Munich”. 

There appeared to be a scam angle, too, with Voigt making the following outrageously generous offer (reader, do not call that number):

Giving away free bicycles to all callers, just cover shipping. +49 80849340 (Anrufen 080849340)

Why would he do this? Because of Reasons, namely “hello i fell off my bike the other day and broke my leg mayn“.

Then came the pièce de résistance, lobbed out into the cavernous void that is Twitter in a post-Elon Musk world: “Robert Barr from Glasgow is a pedophile”. For obvious reasons, Escape Collective does not endorse this wildly defamatory statement, although from what we can glean, it refers to a Scotsman facing extradition to the US after allegedly hacking millions of pounds in bitcoin. He has not been accused of pedophilia. 

Amazingly, both Voigt and the hacker(s) simultaneously have access to the account, meaning the account is making comments like “jamie is latinx” (Jamie’s response: “STFU”) alongside retweets of warnings via the account of Voigt’s wife: 

And because the magical word ‘hacked’ was used in that tweet, the responses are flooded with bots suggesting exactly who Voigt can contact to get his account back. It is All Very Cool and Very Normal stuff. ?

At time of writing, the tweet war being waged over Voigt’s Twitter account showed few signs of resolution, and based on past experience with a certain Slovenian, we may be here for a while. However, unlike Roglič’s hackers – who appear to have targeted his account purely because he had a lot of followers – there appears to be a familiarity with Voigt’s personal brand. Besides the offer of “free bicycles for all callers”, the URL at the top of the page has been changed to ShutUpKrebs.com – an apparent reference to Chris Krebs, the former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the US Department of Homeland Security, who was fired by former bike race promoter Donald Trump after disputing his claims of electoral fraud.

All of which means that – for the second time in a week  – I find myself, an online journalist for an online cycling publication, wondering whether this internet thing is worth it.

Update: The most bonkers tweets have now been deleted, suggesting that Voigt has regained control of his account. Escape Collective looks forward to more duck identifications and airport building plans as normal service resumes.

What did you think of this story?