Madrid, Spain (4E Sports) – Chris Horner of RadioShack-Leopard team made history when he became the oldest winner of the Tour of Spain Sunday.
Horner finished safely in the main bunch to beat Italian Vincenzo Nibali, the reigning Giro d’Italia champion, by 37 seconds after the final stage in Madrid. Home hope Alejandro Valverde, a former winner of La Vuelta, finished third.
At 41 years and 327 days, Horner is the oldest winner of one of cycling’s three majors, the other races being the famed Tour de France and the Giro.
Switzerland’s Tony Rominger was eight years younger when he won the Tour of Spain in 1994 and the oldest Tour de France winner is Fermin Lambot, who was 36 when he triumphed in 1922.
Fiorenzo Magni was 34 years old, 180 days when he won the 1955 Giro d’Italia
“I have faced younger and great riders like Nibali, Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez,” said Horner, who battled 2010 Vuelta winner Nibali throughout the three-week long endurance test.
“They have had a great tour so for me it is a legendary moment that may not be repeated.
“I know I am also the first North American to win the Tour of Spain and this makes me very proud of my work and above all that of my teammates,” he added.
Nibali went into the final week with a 50-second advantage, but Horner nibbled at the lead until taking it for the final time on Friday’s 19th stage.
The oldest rider in today’s professional peloton is Germany’s Jens Voigt, who turns 42 on Tuesday, but now rides as a support rider for Horner’s RadioShack team.
Horner, whose best finish in the Tour de France is 10th place, also played a similar role for the now disgraced Lance Armstrong with the Astana and RadioShack squads, but has achieved his best results since his infamous compatriot retired.