The 2012 peloton in numbers

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

There are 18 UCI Pro Tour teams for 2012 comprising 505 riders. Here you can see the oldest and youngest riders, the average age in the bunch and which nation sends the most riders into the top flight of men’s road cycling.

The oldest riders:

Jens Voigt Radioshack-Nissan 40
Frédéric Guesdon FDJ – Bigmat 40
Christopher Horner Radioshack-Nissan 40
Robbie McEwen Greenedge 39
George Hincapie BMC 38
Stuart O’Grady Greenedge 38
Alexandr Vinokourov Astana 38
Levi Leipheimer Omega Pharma – Quickstep 38
Alessandro Petacchi Lampre-ISD 38
Danilo Hondo Lampre-ISD 38


The youngest riders

Arnaud Demare FDJ-BigMat 20
Michael Hepburn Greenedge 20
Kenny Elissonde FDJ-BigMat 20
Barry Markus Vacansoleil 20
Luke Durbridge Greenedge 20
Marco Haller Katusha 20
Wilco Kelderman Rabobank 20
Jacob Rathe Garmin-Cervélo 20
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck Omega Pharma – Quickstep 20
Moreno Moser Liquigas 21


The average age of a rider in the Pro Tour is 28.2 years.

Average age per team

Lampre – ISD 29.4
Team Saxo Bank 29.4
Radioshack – Nissan 29.1
Astana 28.8
Ag2r La Mondiale 28.6
Katusha 28.6
Garmin-Cervélo 28.4
Greenedge 28.4
BMC Racing Team 28.2
Movistar 28.2
Sky 28.2
Euskaltel – Euskadi 27.9
FDJ – BigMat 27.9
Rabobank 27.8
Omega Pharma – Quickstep 27.6
Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team 27.5
Lotto Belisol Team 27.4
Liquigas-Cannondale 26.5


The biggest and smallest nations

Italy 67
Spain 61
France 52
Belgium 51
Netherlands 39
Australia 33
USA 20
Germany 18
Russia 18
Denmark 14
Great Britain 14
Kazakhstan 12
Poland 11
Switzerland 11
New Zealand 6
Slovenia 6
Belarus 5
Canada 5
Colombia 5
Norway 5
Portugal 5
Ukraine 5

Next comes Austria, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovakia (4); Czech Republic, Ireland, Sweden, (3); Argentina, Iran, Japan, South Africa (2). Whilst Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, Israel, Latvia and Uzbekistan each have one rider.

  • A footnote to say this piece first appeared on the blog the other day with a word of caution that some names were missing and was based on 481 riders listed on the UCI website. Frustratingly the governing body’s website is still incomplete but two helpful readers emailed in their own databases with more comprehensive information. Consequently some of the numbers have changed, for example Saxo Bank leaps over Radioshack to become the second oldest squad.
Anon January 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Hmm.. according to my calculations Austria has 4 riders on the highest level.. Thomas Rohregger (Radioshack), Marco Haller (Katusha), Bernhard Eisel (Sky), Stefan Denifl (Vacansoleil).

CAT4Fodder January 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Two biggest surprises:

A) Poland has 10 riders (this is a country that, while having a history with cycling, is not necessarily known for its cycling heritage)
B) Columbia – Only 5 riders. I feel that perhaps there is a lot of untapped talent in this country, and that due to economics, culture and legacies from years past, the Pro Teams shy away from the Columbians.

CAT4Fodder January 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Also – as someone in his 30’s, each year a list like this makes me more away of my age and that I am not longer young.

Gerrald January 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

To have only 5 riders in the peloton, but 2 in the top 50 on cqranking is quite remarkable as well…

The Inner Ring January 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Anon: well spotted. I’ve just crunched the data from the website and right now Denifl is missing from the team listing at

Adam January 4, 2012 at 8:49 pm

The points system isn’t perfect in how it awards points – Jack Bobridge and Matti Breschel each ended the season with only 1 point – what is interesting is the points by Nation per rider. With Just 4 riders, Luxembourg is tops with 134 points average between them, while your average French rider earns only 8 points and, 18 for Italy, 43 for Switzerland, 68 for GB and Dan Martin bumping Ireland up to 103.
On a country wide per capita basis, Luxembourg again knocks it out of the par; with only 500K people they generate almost 10x as many points per capita as Belgium which is itself 30% ahead of Norway. Looking at it this way the general populations of Canada and Russia have no interest in generating World Tour riders.

The Tashkent Error January 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm

CAT4Fodder: and would that be Columbia University or District of Columbia?..

Mr. Correction January 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm

FDJ’s Frederic Guesdon is 40 years old (born October 14, 1971).

Q January 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Continuing the comparisons of World Tour riders per capita for a country, I was quite surprised after looking up the numbers to see that Australia has 1/3 the population of Italy (23 million vs. 61 million), but half as many World Tour riders. Clearly Australia is the top English-speaking country for producing elite cyclists by a wide margin.

nick January 4, 2012 at 9:47 pm

there’s also only 4 riders for canada as well: svein tuft, michael barry, ryder hesjedal, and dom rollin. GOSH GET YOUR NUMBERS RIGHT

The Inner Ring January 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Mr Correction: thanks, he wasn’t on either

Nick: don’t forget Christian Meier at Greenedge too.

Darren January 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Ok, so Belgium is considered by many to be the mecca of cycling, but, for a nation of only 10,5 million people they still do very well in comparison to Italy/Spain/France who all have much bigger populations, and who also probably consider themselves to be cycling mecca’s!!!

Karl January 4, 2012 at 10:56 pm

What about Japan? Doesn’t Beppu ride for Greenedge?

The Inner Ring January 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Karl: and Takashi Miyazawa at Saxo Bank too, I think they dropped off my list by accident.
御免なさい !

OJT January 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm

The spread of mean rider ages across the teams is interesting, no? 14 of the teams are only separated by 18 months. Italian teams at each end of the spectrum too – Lampre right at the top & Liquigas at the bottom, seemingly much younger than the rest of the peloton…

Andrew January 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

Here on the Isle of Man we have two Pro Tour riders for 2012 (three in 2011 with Bellis). With a population of 85,000 that puts us at one pro for every 42,500 people. You could also add Ben Swift who lives here and is a club rider.

Plus we have a hand full of pros riding for Continental teams (An Post etc.).

Surely per capita, the best cycling producing nation on the planet?

Torben Putkonen January 5, 2012 at 7:51 am

You forgot:

Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ-Big Mat), Finland.

The Inner Ring January 5, 2012 at 8:45 am

Guesdon, Denifl and Veikkanen have been added.

As for which area produces the most riders, an interesting question. You often have clusters of these things, a mix of chance and specific factors.

Rikard January 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

Sweden has 3 riders in Thomas Löfkvist (Sky), Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil) and Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana).

The Inner Ring January 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

Rikard: thanks, I’ll update things with Löfkvist who was again missing from the UCI website.

Ferdi January 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm

As much as like to see Colombian giving it a crack in the mountains of Europe , I think you find there are always major problems getting them 1. work visas & 2. with homesickness from the riders themselves.

Tess January 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Martin Mortensen is missing aswell.. The UCI should update again..

Tess January 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Martin Mortensen is missing aswell.. The UCI should reupdate

nick January 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm

oh whoops! I totally forgot about meier, thanks for that one!

xyz January 5, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Ha, this Danish website: has stolen your numbers, but accredited UCI for the work.

The Inner Ring January 5, 2012 at 11:36 pm

xyz: Dutch websites too

It’s fine but the data are imprecise as frustratingly some names are still missing from the UCI website. I’ll try to issue updated numbers, if they differ significantly, once I’ve got everything noted.

muz January 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Yet another train spotter… NZ has 6 not 4. Julian Dean, Greg Henderson (although the australians probably try and claim him now he’s married to one), Hayden Roulston, Jesse Sergent, George Bennett and Jack Bauer.

dadshaveshislegs January 9, 2012 at 12:15 am

Boulder Colorado has more pro’s, Olympic, and world champions than anywhere else! Just sayin’….

Cam January 9, 2012 at 3:27 am

Another Kiwi here that noticed the omission of NZ Radioshack riders… (Sent you an email which I hope is helpful.)

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