Not many pundits predicted that a Team Radio-Shack Leopard rider would win the 2013 Vuelta a’ Espana, the season’s final Grand Tour. No one predicted that the winner would be that team’s oldest rider, 41-year-old Chris Horner.
Horner turns 42 next month, making him the oldest rider to win one of cycling’s three most prestigious races. He also won three stages, at the Vuelta, each time breaking the record for oldest rider to win a stage in a Grand Tour.
He did it with tremendous performances in the mountain stages, riding his Trek Madone 6.9 SSL road bike with panache rarely seen in riders his age.
His final margin over main rival Vincenzo Nibali of Italy was 37 seconds.
Horner is in the last year of his contract with the RadioShack team, which will transfer its UCI racing license to the new TrekWorld team in 2014.
His exploits at the Vuelta have excited the cycling world, but the big question remains about his ability to repeat his amazing performances at age 42-plus next season.
But for now, Chris Horner has shown the world that age is just a number: No. 1.