April, 2010. “I had with Floyd Landis to fill a gap of over seven minutes before we caught the front, and at this time I had driven Landis tired. Eventually, I rode away from Landis and second position to the win”. How many 42 year olds could tell that story?*
Amongst the interesting statistics within the UCI’s 2012 road cycling teams database, Søren Petersen stands alone. Now at 44 years of age, Petersen is the oldest rider on the UCI road cycling circuit; no other WorldTour, ProContinental or Continental cyclist comes close.
Riding for the UCI Continental J.Jensen – Sandstod Salg og Event (JJS) team in his native Denmark, Petersen is still going strong well into his fifth decade. He finished a convincing 7th place in the week-long UCI2.2-ranked Tour of Thailand last year, and only 53 seconds down on Nicki Sørensen (Saxo Bank) at the 2011 Danish road cycling championships.
Any young upstart who finds himself alongside this “old guy” in a race should be warned: Petersen has a super-impressive palmarès, which spans two decades and includes 17 victories, according to Cycling Archives.
Interestingly, the second oldest person on the team (and fourth oldest in the UCI teams database), Claus Holm, is the younger brother of Brian Holm – the former professional cyclist that recently joined the management team at Belgian WorldTour squad Quick-Step Cycling, after a successful stint at now-defunct HTC.
Though Cycling iQ has an Asia-Pacific regional focus, this snippet is a by-product of two factors:
1) throughout 2012 and beyond, Cycling iQ will regularly identify professional cyclists and/or team staffers – especially those who are native to Asia, or compete predominantly in the UCI Asia Tour circuit – who have interesting “back stories” to tell.
2) a virus-stricken fortnight; during which time much introspection and self-pity has taken place. Not riding makes me reflect on past fitness, and I start to question whether I could ever race at a high level should I choose to – even though I know I probably
won’t can’t. After copying and pasting information from the UCI’s teams database into a spreadsheet, I sought solace in identifying riders on the Continental circuit that were substantially “more mature” than myself; the theory being that I too could still pull on a race bib in a UCI Continental race in future. That’s when Petersen, like an angel, appeared.
So, thanks Søren, and advance gratitude to the riders featured here in future. Even though I don’t possess your talent, discipline nor any other desirable characteristics that enable your form, it’s motivating stuff.
*The above quote comes from the Hvidovre Cykle Klub – of which Petersen is a member – website; discussing Petersen’s infamous (amongst his team mates, anyway) gap-bridging effort at the 2010 Devil’s Punchbowl road race, in which he dropped Landis from his wheel enroute to victory in Pearblossom, Southern California.