Longo keeps ticking in time trials
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Longo keeps ticking in time trials

by Conal Andrews at 8:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 

Legendary French rider Jeannie Longo finished tenth yesterday in the women’s time trial at the UCI world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The result wasn’t spectacular in itself but in the context of her age – she will be 51 on October 31st – the achievement was remarkable.

“I have the age of someone who has crossed the ages,” she said after her test, “A ghost. In the pack, it’s as if I am dealing with my daughters.”

Longo wasn’t exaggerating. While the race winner Kristin Armstrong is ‘only’ 14 years younger, second-placed Noemi Cantele (Italy) and third-placed Linda Villumsen (Denmark) were born 22 and 26 years after her, respectively. The youngest rider in the race, Polona Batagelj (Slovenia) is just 20 years old.

"A selection is always very motivating,” said the Frenchwoman in Le Parisien. “It was fine but it would have been better if I had done something like early in the season. I exploded in the second lap, I had no legs. At times, I even stopped pedalling.”

She was nevertheless relatively satisfied with the ride. “Tenth, it is not bad ...with my limited means."

If her means are in any way limited, it is through age alone. Longo has taken a staggering 1000+ victories in her professional career, including a glittering haul of world championship medals. She won five editions of the Elite road race, four of the time trial, four track titles, as well as one gold, two silver and one bronze medals at Olympic Games.

She also took the 1987, 1988 and 1989 editions of the Tour Cycliste Feminin/Grande Boucle, and has 23 French road race and time trial titles.

Longo is also expected to contest Saturday’s Elite women’s road race. She will join Edwige Pitel, Karie Gautard, Sophie Creux, Beatrice Thomas, Christel Ferrier-Bruneau and Julie Krasniak on the French team.

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