The Greatest Cyclist…ever?

Photo: petitesreines.free.fr

If the title of this post were your question, the individual in the photo is your answer. The national championships wrapped up for the majority of countries yesterday and 51 year old Jeannie Longo won her 57th, that’s correct, 57th French national champions jersey! Maybe you math whizzes out there have already figured this out, but that’s more than one title for every year she has been alive, and she certainly didn’t start winning TT titles when she was in diapers. She’s won the honor of wearing her nations jersey in the women’s road race 15 times, the TT title, which was only introduced in 1995, 9 times including this year, and numerous national titles on the track.

Longo has accumulated over 900 career wins, she’s won the women’s Tour de France three times (’87,’88,’89), the Ore-Ida Women’s Challenge twice (’91,’99) and has one gold, two silvers and a bronze at the Olympics. Jeannie also has accumulated 20 UCI world champion medals, with 13 of them being gold and one silver occurring in mountain biking.

In events where Longo has competed indirectly against the men of the sport, she has done incredibly well. She owns the women’s record for the Mt Evans Hill climb at 1:59:19 when most women’s winning times have been between 2:10 and 2:20 from 1980 (2:41:10) until 2009 (2:15:58). The Men’s record is 1:42:09, but few male competitors beat Longo’s best time.

She also had held the women’s hour record at 45.094km and still owns the women’s best hour performance record at 48.159km. Fausto Coppi’s best result and 14 year record was 45.798 with drop bars (hour record). Moser’s best hour performance was 51.151km and he’s later admitted to tinkering with more than just his bike in those performances.

It’s quite apparent that no one cyclist has dominated the sport more than Jeannie Longo and for her to win her nations TT championship at 51 years old is awe-inspiring. The men also did pretty well over the weekends events, but there were a few surprises.

First, Fabian Cancellara did not defend his Swiss national road race championship with Martin Elmiger winning, nor could he dethrone Rubens Bertogliati from his Time Trial championship. Has the world flipped upside down?

Second, Thor Hushovd, who was seeming to be a little off form, won the Norwegian road race. No surprises on the other side, in the TT, as Edvald Boasson Hagen won his fourth consecutive TT championship.

Lastly, Fränk and Andy Schleck will both be wearing the colors of Luxembourg as they’ve won Road race and Time trial respectively. Has this been done before? Two brothers owning both jerseys in the same year? I don’t think so.

American races are yet to come, as are the Austrian and Belgian Time Trial, as well as a few of the smaller pro-cycling countries sorting out their winners.

The updated National Champions Chart via: Wiki

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One thought on “The Greatest Cyclist…ever?

  1. That’s amazing. Thanks for posting about her, its nice to hear about female athletes and older athletes as well.

    As for Cancellera… maybe he cancel(lera)ed his little bike motor trick.

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