Lashings of champagne, authentic or not, have left a sticky residue on many a pro cyclist’s shoe this year, with most races of the 2013 UCI road cycling calendar already in the rear view mirror. It has taken a little while longer to make a full roll call of the global peloton, but we can now take a look at where all the riders are from.
A lot has happened in the year that has passed since the 2012 edition of ‘Where are all the riders from?’. For starters, the number of UCI-registered riders in Continental, ProContinental and ProTeam teams has grown by almost 3% – when compared to the same time last year – from 2,842 (July, 2012) to 2,922 (July, 2013).
Of the five UCI continents – Africa, The Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania – Africa, Asia and Europe have contributed a net increase of national flags to the peloton compared to the 2012 season; all due to newly-minted riders from Angola, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, the Philippines and Albania. A belated welcome also to riders from the Dominican Republic, Barbados; nations which were not present in the peloton last year.
Zooming out a little, what of the oft-spruiked vision of the UCI’s president, Pat McQuaid, about the “globalisation of cycling”? When compared to Europe, other continental cycling confederations have a long way to go until the majority of their represented nations see a domestically-licensed rider pin on a race number in a UCI-sanctioned pro road cycling race. Of course, this doesn’t take into account geopolitical and socio-economic factors, but its exciting to think that a large reservoir of future potential in Asia, Latin America and Africa remains untapped.
Speaking of continents, did you know only 3 out of 196 teams have riders from all five UCI continents on their roster? Bravo ORICA-GreenEDGE, Argos-Shimano and CCN Cycling Team! It’s also praiseworthy that an additional 6 teams have recruited riders from four continents, though multi-national rosters are not the rule – 63% of all 196 UCI-registered road cycling teams are comprised of riders from one country. A full continental-breakdown of all teams can be found further down the page.
How about the average age of a pro cyclist though? 24 is the magic number – this is the average age of a pro cyclist, regardless of which continent he hails from. However, there are some impressive outliers; take Louis Garneau from Team Equipe Garneau – Québecor, for example. That’s right, the Louis Garneau of the eponymous cycling brand. At 54 years of age, he is the elder statesman of the peloton. Chapeau.
Given Cycling iQ is focused on Asia, you may be interested to learn the youngest and oldest riders from the region – Yamato Shirota (Utsunomiya Blitzen), born 25 November 1994 and Yasushi Hamagashira (Ciervo Nara Cycling Team), born 24 December 1969, respectively – are both from Japan.
No pro in a ProTeam or ProContinental team is older than 41 years of age but, if you’re still motivated (and in shape) beyond that point, you might still find yourself able to rub shoulders with ProTeam riders in a 1.HC or 2.HC race if you can get drafted by the right Continental team. In fact, a group of fit 40 year-old retirees with cash to burn (think entrepreneurs, hedge-fund managers, IT magnates, etc…) could pool resources, create a well-funded Continental squad, and take a “gap year” on the UCI circuit. It’s not out of the realm of possibility…
The Philippines returns to the fold, fielding two UCI Continental teams in 2013; making it the 4th-best represented East-Asian country – behind China, Japan and South Korea, respectively – in terms of potential starters. Ethiopia’s Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (MTN – Qhubeka), Thailand’s Phuchong Saiudomsin (OCBC Singapore Cycling Team) and Krygyzstan’s Eugen Wacker (Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team) both have the unique distinction of being one of only three reigning dual-national champions (TT and Road) that are also their country’s sole representatives on the UCI pro circuit.
So, take a look at the tables below for a snapshot (updated 21 July 2013) of the global peloton for the 2013 season. [Large version of last table here] As always, more Cycling iQ quick stats will be made on Twitter.
CONTINENTAL REPRESENTATION (NUMBER OF RIDERS) PER UCI TEAM