Jeannie Longo wins her 9th French Time Trial title… at the age of 51

Top level sport a young person's game? Nobody's told Longo as she bags 57th national title

by Tony Farrelly   June 26, 2010  

Jeannie_Longo_Fra_51yrs_cj_© Photosport International.jpg

When it comes to elite level sports, youth usually wins but nobody has dared tell Jeannie Longo yet, the French woman famed for her competitive streak this week won the French National Time Trial Championship at the age of 51 going on 52.

Her 2010 title, which was her third national time trial title in a row, brings her total of national titles to a staggering 57… on road and track (she's got 13 world titles too and an Olympic Gold). Given her achievements her haul of 9 national time trial titles might seem relatively modest, but then the title was only introduced in 1995 and Longo promptly won it… she also has 15 wins in the French road championship and in 2006 and 2008 won both titles. For the sake of variety Longo also notched up a silver medal in the 1993 UCI mountain bike world championships.

Interestingly the woman she beat to the national title this year, Edwige Pitel was at 42 the second oldest competitor in the race and she has in the past denied Longo taking two national titles of her own.

Cycling does seem to be a sport where with the right training, and attitude plus a good set of genes the best can sometimes stay at or near the top longer than might be expected. Lance Armstrong will still be a contender at this year's Tour just over a year short of his 40th birthday. The 49 year-old Malcolm Elliot won a round of this year's Halford's Tour Series and played a pivotal role in his Motorpoint Marshalls Pasta team's charge to overall victory in the series… maybe he can take a leaf out of Longo's book tomorrow at the British nationals. Longo still has some way to go to match the 90 national titles won by Beryl Burton, although she is well ahead on world titles and has kept winning for even longer the the redoubtable Beryl.

Chapeaux!

Full Results
1  Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli       (Rhône-Alpes)    0:34:51
2  Edwige Pitel                          (Michela)             0:01:19
3  Christel Ferrier-Bruneau     (Vienne Futur)    0:01:31
4  Aude Biannic                         (Bretagne)          0:01:45
5  Julie Krasniak                       (Lorraine)            0:01:48
6  Delphine Pelletier                (Centre)               0:02:04