Talk about defying sporting convention. One week ago– Sunday, September 15– marked an unforgettable moment in cycling history (fingers crossed). And then we waited, more or less along these lines:
The protocol looks something like this: Win a race, get kisses from the podium girls, shake hands with the Badger, and then wait for journalists to question the legitimacy of your performance. (VeloNews, 9/16/13).
Fortunately, aside from the “drug testing mix-up” that was quickly deemed no fault of his own, there’s been very little if any rumbling throughout the week about “legitimacy” in this case. As such it looks like we really can commend a remarkable accomplishment for what it is, even in a sport that at this point in time cannot be trusted, sadly yet understandably enough.
Those who see an age limit on athletic victory will probably want to reconsider their outlook. One week on, the headline can now be repeated with all the more confidence: 41-year-old American Chris Horner— close to 42 no less– has won the 2013 Vuelta a Espana. Not only is he the first American in history to capture Spain’s annual three-week cycling race, but the Oregon resident has also become by far the oldest rider ever to win one of cycling’s three Grand Tours– the other two of course Le Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.
Along with victory comes the defense, as expected. Assuming no doping in today’s supposedly “cleaner” era of cycling, which even after a week we must still believe on faith without proof, this unlikely victory a month shy of the winner’s 42nd birthday is just plain awesome! Chris Homer stands a true inspiration to all competitive cyclists who, both mentally and physically, are never too old! Thank you “Grandpa.”