Jeannie Longo, 51 years young, just took her 57th national title, winning the French national championship in the individual time trial.
Story here at VeloNews.
How big of a deal is this? First of all, the individual time trial is called the Race of Truth … no tactics, no teammates, no one fetching water bottles for you. Just you and your bike and the road … best man or woman wins.
Then there’s the number 57. Fifty-seven national titles. By comparison, George Hincapie is one of our top racers when nationals come around … and he has three titles. On the track, we have Marty Nothstein, with 34 gold medals. Marty dominated for many years, but it’s still a huge leap from 34 to 57.
Winning in one discipline is hard. Winning in two is phenomenal. But Jeannie has wins on the open road, the individual time trail, cyclocross, and on the track. That’s like Usain Bolt adding a marathon and shot put title to his sprinting wins.
Finally, we have the big Five-One. Professional bike racers have been known to race into their early 40s … to race, but not to win. You’re carrying water, escorting the team leader, fetching a rain cape from the team car … racing, but not winning.
All I can say is, chapeau. Chapeau, and … now what’s my excuse?