2013 World Tour Rider Age and Nationality

Jens Voigt

There are 507 riders from 43 nations registered with the 18 UCI World Tour teams for 2013.

The average age of a rider is 28 years and 2 months. The oldest rider is the 41 year-old Jens Voigt (Radioshack) whilst Vacansoleil-DCM’s Danny Van Poppel is the youngest pro aged 19.

Here’s a look at the 2013 peloton in numbers. There’s a look at rider age, the “oldest team” and also analysis of how many pros come from each country and more.

Let’s start with age. As mentioned the average rider age for 2013 at the start of the season is 28.2, the same value as last year. Here are the 18 teams as ranked by average age:

UCI World Tour teams

Last year’s gerontocracy was Lampre but now the label is passed Team Saxo-Tinkoff. The Danish squad has a majority of riders over 30 – including Alberto Contador. But Radioshack is next thanks to several ageing riders. Here are the ten oldest riders riders in the World Tour:

Rider Team Date of Birth Age Today
Jens Voigt Radioshack 17/09/1971 41.3
Chris Horner Radioshack 23/10/1971 41.2
Stuart O’Grady Orica-Greenedge 06/08/1973 39.4
Alessandro Petacchi Lampre-Merida 03/01/1974 39.0
Danilo Hondo Radioshack 04/01/1974 39.0
Matteo Tossato Team Saxo-Tinkoff 14/05/1974 38.6
André Schulze Euskaltel-Euskaltel 21/11/1974 38.1
Julian Dean Orica-Greenedge 28/01/1975 37.9
Nicki Sorensen Team Saxo-Tinkoff 28/01/1975 37.6
Bert Grabsch Omega Pharma-Quickstep 19/06/1975 37.5

In fact some of these riders are so old that they distort the average age. The mean average of all the riders is over 28 but the modal average is 27 or put another way Radioshack’s 40-somethings, lean as they might be, help to fatten the tail of age distribution.

Lean, mean and Julian Dean
Note Julian Dean in the top-10. The New Zealander is set to retire in a few days but still counts for now. On his exit Radioshack’s Andreas Klöden will enter the top 10. Dean’s departure will also rejuvenate Orica-Greenedge’s average age, moving the number to 28.2 and placing them below Movistar and above BMC Racing. These riders all have plenty to offer whether in talent or experience. But at the other end of the scale are the new arrivals and youngest riders. Here’s the top-10 of youngest riders:

Rider Team Date of Birth Age Today
Danny Van Poppel Vacansoleil-DCM 26/07/1993 19.4
Carlos Verona Omega Pharma-Quickstep 04/11/1992 20.2
Bob Jungels Radioshack 22/09/1992 20.3
Jay McCarthy Team Saxo-Tinkoff 08/09/1992 20.3
Alexey Lutsenko Astana 07/09/1992 20.3
Joshua Edmondson Team Sky 06/07/1992 20.5
Luca Wackermann Lampre-Merida 13/03/1992 20.8
Emilien Viennet FDJ 06/02/1992 20.9
Lachlan Morton Garmin-Sharp 02/01/1992 21.0
Nikias Arndt Argos-Shimano 18/11/1991 21.1

Note Jens Voigt was ranked as the world’s top amateur and had won the Peace Race before Danny Van Poppel had learned to stand on his tiny feet. Also several of last year’s top-10 oldest riders remain in the top-10 for 2013 but all the top-10 youngest riders for 2012 (Démare, Hepburn, Elissonde, Markus, Durbridge, Haller, Kelderman, Rathe, Van Keirsbulck and Moser) have been replaced by newcomers. There are 57 riders born in the 1990s, some 11% of the peloton.

National Representation
Now it is time to look where the riders come from. Here are the top-20 nations as measured by the number of riders in the UCI World Tour:
UCI World Tour nations
Outside the top-20 we have Austria, Lithuania, Norway and Slovakia with four riders; Belarus, Czech Republic, Japan, South Africa and Sweden with three; Argentina, Costa Rica, Ireland, Ukraine, Venezuela all have two; Brazil, China, Croatia, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Morocco and Uzbekistan have one rider.

Do you speak English?
Italian riders make up 13% of the peloton, although ask an Italian where they’re from and often they’ll state the region first rather than the country. As much as the sport might be spreading around the world “Old Europe” dominates with Italy, France, Belgium and Spain accounting for well over half the World Tour peloton. But 92 riders come from English-speaking nations and the peloton’s prime language these days is English. Germany often has a reputation for quality products and it certainly knows how to manufacture its cyclists. It has just 24 riders but Germany looks likely to finish the year with the most wins thanks to the likes of André Greipel, Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb and Tony Martin.

  • Age numbers used above are decimal and not duodecimal, eg 25.5 is 25 years and six months and not 25 years and five months.
  • Note the official source data from the UCI website is blank for now but the numbers for now come from Cycling Quotient.

48 thoughts on “2013 World Tour Rider Age and Nationality”

  1. Thanks. Not sure if you’ve looked at it but has there been any significant shifts in the proportions of riders from different countries lower down the spectrum? Be interesting to know of any emerging trends.

    • Only if you want to supply me the data with rider names, nationality and date of birth.

      But the average age would probably be younger as riding past 35 was quite rare. There would be an even greater concentration of French, Italians, Belgians and Dutch riders at the expense of Australian, British and US riders.

    • When Inrng did this for the TdF a few years ago, I looked at the nationalities of Tour competitors for ’71, ’81, ’91, ’01, and ’11.

      ’71: 130 riders from 12 countries, with 82% from top 4 countries, 92% from top 5 (IT, FR, SP, BE, NE)

      ’81: 150 riders from 16 countries, with 89% from top 4 countries (Italy did not participate that year)

      ’91: 198 riders from 20 countries, with 55% from top 4 and 65% from top 5

      ’01: 177 riders from 25 countries, with 61% top 4 and 68% top 5

      ’11: 198 riders from 30 countries, with 51% top 4 and 57% top 5

      Of course a specific race like TdF will always skew high in terms of French participants, but it’s pretty clear that 25-30 years ago, the sport was basically the championships of Western Europe, whereas now the sport is far more reaching in terms of its international appeal. [Thank you, Greg LeMond]

  2. Would be interesting to see if Green Edge has had a major impact in the overall number of Australians or if it has just acted as a magnet to draw all the Aussie pros to one team instead of them spreading out.

    Also, Switzerland the highest ranked nation without its ‘own’ team?

    • I would have thought Germany unless I’m missing something.

      Assuming BMC is US and not Swiss and Radioshack is US and not Luxembourgeois we have:

      USA – 3 teams
      Netherlands – 3 teams
      Belgium, France, Spain & Italy – 2 teams
      Denmark, Australia, UK, Kazakhstan – 1 team

      • In line with these assumptions one could also assume that with Cannondale obviously wanting to be an Italian/American team (official team presentation in LA not Italy) that the final numbers are:
        USA – 3.5 teams
        Italy – 1.5 teams

        • In the same vein, Astana is now staffed with 10 Italian riders, as many as Kazakh racers so that the final numbers should be:
          Italy- 2 teams
          Kazakhstan- 0.5 team

          • In a similarly interesting twist, the number of teams from this year (2013) riding on a bicycle with two wheels (as opposed to three, or four) is exactly equal to that from 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, and 20 years ago.

            Team Wheels? How Many?
            Ag2r Y 2
            Argos Y 2
            Astana Y 2
            Blanco Y 2
            BMC Y 2
            Euskaltel Y 2
            FDJ Y 2
            Garmin Y 2
            Orica-Greenedge Y 2
            Lampre Y 2
            Cannondale Y 2
            Lotto-Belisol Y 2
            Movistar Y 2
            Omega Pharma-Quick Step Y 2
            Radioshack Y 2
            Saxo-Tinkoff Y 2
            Sky Y 2
            Vacansoleil Y 2

            Completely astounding I think you’ll agree!

  3. Interesting.. clearly Belgium and the Netherlands have a lot of riders for their population size. How about top 20 (or 10 or whatever) nations ranked by WorldTour riders per million inhabitants? Belgium & Netherlands would presumably come top — or would Luxembourg?

    • Just crunched those numbers out of curiosity. The surprise in there is Slovenia, for me. Plus, the fact that Italy, France, and Spain aren’t fielding nearly as many riders per person as one might guess.

      TdF Riders per Million Population (based on current Wikipedia pop. numbers)

      Luxembourg 10.00
      Belgium 4.82
      Slovenia 3.81
      Netherlands 3.04
      Denmark 2.14
      New Zealand 1.56
      Australia 1.53
      Switzerland 1.13
      Italy 1.09
      Spain 1.06
      France 0.83
      Kazakhstan 0.66
      Portugal 0.57
      Germany 0.29
      UK 0.24
      Poland 0.21
      Canada 0.20
      Colombia 0.17
      USA 0.07
      Russia 0.03

    • I’ll take that as a compliment.

      I find the numbers interesting when they challenge preconceived ideas, for example I didn’t know we had so many Australians.

      But hopefully once the season starts soon we can look at the quality of the racing rather than the quantity.

      • Australian’s are everywhere….if you turn around you’ll probably find you have one on your couch right now. “G’day mate, mind if I crash for a few nights, just come back from Turkey, off to Turkmenistan on Wednesday….you know….doing an alphabetical backpackin’ tour……got any beer?”

        • You oughta see their English and Irish equivalents here in Australia. 20 to a room in a Bondi flat, missing work for days and coming back bleary eyed, and generally looking like a ‘before’ photo in some oublic health or cosmetic dentistry commercial.

          The young Team GB and Team Rapha boys had a great week in very trying conditions here last week though. Bay Crits and Herald Sun Tour was one long hard week for them. Credit to them, they weren’t shirking from hard work in the bunch.

          The Australian influence in team management seems to be as strong too, in the past couple of years we have seen top teams with guys like Peiper, Stevens, White, and McGee. Must be something about getting the job done, doing it properly, getting along with team mates and not whingeing…

  4. I want to say congratulations on the website, it gives an inside view of the sport that i don’t get to see often.
    Just a small correction on the article, you are missing the Portuguese riders, they are at least four, Rui Costa, Tiago Machado, Sergio Paulinho and Bruno Pires.

  5. Nice data. I did the same sort of thing recently with American teams and riders – if any of you nerds are interested? > http://americancycling.tumblr.com/
    **American pros that never make it across the Atlantic are stuck mostly racing 100k or less criteriums to pay the bills (a joke), that is if their Conti teams are lucky enough to get invites to Tour of California, Tour of Utah, and the USA Pro Challenge all run by Medalist Sports. USA needs lots more UCI single day road races and stage races.

  6. I wonder if there is a correlation between big winners from a particular country and, say, 10-15 years later, a surge in pros from that country – the hero effect – young Aussies want to be Evans, Brits Wiggins etc etc.

    The other sad thing to note is how Germany is still so jaded as a market by doping – a country of that size and wealth should have a number of teams and races. Other than Vattenfall and Bayern Rundfart (query spelling?) I can’t think of any major races even though Germany has the biggest population in Europe.

    • I think it’s quite the case. France began generating less riders some 8-10 years after Hinault and Fignon retired, and Spain crowded the peloton 8-10 years after Delgado and Induráin, only to decrease from there. The exceptions seem to be Belgium and Italy, who continue to churn out good riders year after year, regardless.

  7. I would be curious to know the number of wins/podiums in 2012 of the ten oldest riders compared to the 10 youngest. I suspect the geriatrics have a much higher win total else management would roll the dice on young untested legs. That said, many of the older crowd do have name recognition and crowd appeal that may imbue them with value to sponsors beyond merely wins.

  8. For those that want to see the Racers make a difference , ACT NOW !

    WADA has removed phat from the executive and the Luxemburgers have called an ” Extraordinary UCI Management / Delegates Meeting “!

    With some luck , things will change in the blink of an eye , BUT , to make sure ALL Cycling Fans need to send @gaudryt ALL the links and info that will help her to acquaint her ” UCI Peers ” with the need for URGENT CHANGE !

    CCN & Jaimie Fuller , are also likely to be keen to help !

    CCN alone will not do the job needed !

  9. ” although ask an Italian where they’re from and often they’ll state the region first rather than the country”

    NOT really true, italians say I am italian from ….. if needed to be more specific.
    same as Parisian say, I am from Paris, they dont say i am French!!!!

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