Bodywork

Q:

Am I Too Old to Win the Tour de France?

How old are most Tour de France winners? At 34, could I even be a contender?

    Photo: Radu Razvan/Shutterstock

A:Let’s face it: Age is probably not the only thing standing between you and doting podium girls. But instead of busting your bearings, we’ll approach your question with straight-up statistical analysis, because numbers can’t mock you. (Or can they…)

We dumped data from Le Tour’s official records page into a spreadsheet to help provide insight into the 111-year-old race. (Note: On this records page, Oscar Pereiro’s 2006 stats are entered in place of disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis’s, while Lance Armstrong’s are still there. And the race was not held for a total of 11 years during WWI and WWII.) 

The result: The average age of Tour de France winners in the last 99 events is 28 years, 1 month, and 10 days old. Britain’s Chris Froome, nabbing this year’s yellow jersey, is predictably average, age-wise, stepping onto the Paris podium at 28 years and two months.

Belgian Cyclist Firmin Lambot was the oldest vainqueur so far, winning the 1922 Tour at 36 years old. And at 19, Henri Cornet is the youngest winner, though in true Tour fashion, he nabbed the 1904 title after the top four riders were disqualified for, among other things, alleged motorized assistance, and “stick-wielding” fan attacks against fellow riders, as Velo News recounts

At 30 years, six months, the average age of Tour winners in the past 10 years skews slightly older, thanks to Lance Armstrong (32 to 34 when he won in 2003 to 2005), Carlos Sastre (33 in 2008), Cadel Evans (34 in 2011), and Bradley Wiggins (32 in 2012).

THE BOTTOM LINE: The average age of Tour de France winners is 28 years old. But that doesn’t mean that guys in their 30s are destined to domestique-dom. Firmin Lambot became the oldest winner at 36 in a Tour that ranks among the longest courses ever, covering 3,340 miles in just 15 stages in 1922. (In contrast, the 2013 route covers 2,115 miles in 21 stages.)

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