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June 26, 2010

France's Jeannie Longo offers Lance some hope

From France, we have news that Jeannie Longo, 51-year old veteran cyclist, has won the national title in the individual time trial at the French national cycling championship.

From VeloNews:
Jeannie Longo won her 57th national title at the French national championships on Thursday, decisively winning the women’s time trial event for a third successive year.

The 51-year-old Longo covered the 24.7-km course in Chantonnay a full 1:19 faster than two-time national champion Edwige Pitel, 43. Former national road champion Christel Ferrier-Bruneau, 30, finished third at 1:45.

The win represents Longo’s 57th French national title since she won her first in 1979... Longo’s presence in the women’s cycling peloton, whose average age is usually half her own, has on occasion prompted the odd grumble. However the Frenchwoman known for her no-nonsense attitude has always defended her right to compete, no matter what her age.

That belief was vindicated Thursday, when, asked why her rivals could not match up, she suggested they “hadn’t done enough specific training. I’m sorry to say it, but they need to go back to the drawing board on a few things.”

“You can’t discount my 30 years of experience,” added Longo, who actually won her first national championship jersey 31 years ago.
I like the notion of the peleton grumbling at the lady's age.

As Americans, of course, we view all cycling events through the lens of: What does this mean for Lance? Perhaps this is the year for age and treachery triumphing over youth and skill.

Pictured Alberto Contador (current heir apparent) and Lance Armstrong (who was something, once); Contador wears the yellow jersey.

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