|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.
|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|
|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.
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“.