A Question of Age

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Horner riding around the block again

Whereas some sports see participants fade once they pass the age of 30, cycling is a sport where a certain maturity helps. The lack of impact saves the body but tactical awareness helps deliver results too. That’s why the average age of a World Tour rider is 29.

The youngest team on average is Liquigas where the average age is a bit over 26, whilst with the retirement home that is Team Radioshack has a mean rider age of 29.5 years.

The Oldest

Jens Voigt Leopard Trek 17 Sep 1971
Lance Armstrong Radioshack 18 Sep 1971
Chris Horner Radioshack 23 Oct 1971
José Garcia Acoste Movistar 4 Aug 1972
Gorazd Stangelj Liquigas 27 Jan 1973
George Hincapie BMC Racing Team 29 Jun 1973
Stuart O’Grady Leopard-Trek 6 Aug 1973
Alexandr Vinokourov Astana 16 Sep 1973

The Youngest

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck Quick Step 14 Feb 1991
Michael Matthews Rabobank 26 Sep 1990
Jésus Herrada Movistar 26 Jul 1990
Taylor Phinney BMC Racing Team 27 Jun 1990
Michal Kwiatkowski Radioshack 2 Jun 1990
Peter Sagan Liquigas 26 Jan 1990

I’ve picked the riders born in 1973 or earlier for the first table and 1990 and after for the second table. It’s also worth nothing the youngest riders, the likes of Matthews, Phinney and Sagan have all made their mark already, similarly FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot born in 1990 took the best climber’s jersey in last year’s Tour de Romandie.

The sounds of yesteryear
Note that Chris Horner was born at time when The Osmonds were topping the charts, whilst Van Keirsbulck’s birth coincided with Whitney Houston and Bart Simpson’s “Do the Bartman”. Abysmal singles top the charts across time.

Golden Oldie
Spare a thought for Andrea Noè of the Farnese Vini team, the oldest rider on the pro circuit at 42. No longer in the flower of youth, this is one guy that refuses to wilt. He turned pro in 1993 and has apparently racked up 600,000km on the bike since then, notably finishing fourth in Giro in 2000 and 2003.

Noted for his lean build, Noè was nicknamed “The Ghost” because he was so thin. Although Mario Cipollini once quipped that his nickname was not because of his light anatomy but because “when Andrea makes love to his wife, all she feels is the sheet“.

Photo: cyclingnews.com

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{ 13 comments }

Biarnes February 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

The real Noé surname is "Brontolo" because he is a perpetual moaner ! :) He is pleased with that ! ;)

Anonymous February 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Ahhh….. September is before October. That would make Horner the 3rd oldest not 1st!

TheInnerRing February 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Biarnes: not seen that before, merci.

Anonymous: thanks and fixed.

Champs February 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I'm not sure how Vino ended up listed with Liquigas.

Paul February 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Wha! 'Do the Bartman' was a frickin' ace single. I don't know if I can trust your opinions anymore.

TheInnerRing February 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Champs: thanks. Lesson learned, I should press "preview" before "publish".

Paul: how old where you at the time?;-)

Thomas Guest February 6, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Not forgetting Malcolm Elliott, who'll be 50 this year. I think he led the Tour of Britain for a while in 2009.

Paul February 6, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Five or six I think. I remember a friends sister taping it from the top 40 and listening to it religiously. Imprinted in my memory for life.

TheInnerRing February 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

QED!

Eneko February 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Although not a World Tour rider, don´t forget to mention Iñigo Cuesta (03.06.1969). He is finally racing this year for Caja Rural and wants to end his career at Vuelta.

Andrew February 7, 2011 at 4:04 am

Cuesta in particular sticks out. If Cervelo had not folded into Garmin-Cervelo so late, and the super-domestique job was not so well-represented in the peloton right now (ahem, Radio Shack), he'd likely still be a ProTeam rider. Joào Correia couldn't run out of nice things to say about him last season.

Jens February 7, 2011 at 8:14 am

What was in the charts when Jeannie Longo was born?
Must be Elvis, I guess ;.-)

TheInnerRing February 7, 2011 at 8:25 am

Eneko, Andrew: yes, Cuesta was racing at the highest level last year. Maybe we'll see him again this year. He's still younger than Andrea Noe though, but only by months.

Jens: it was this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gtizr2G_7Bk (It's All in The Game, by Tommy Edwards) and I think in France it was Dalida, the Egyptian-Italian Diva, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN54pcsqDxI

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