Smells Like Teen Spirit

When I was 19 years old, my biggest concern cycling-wise was staying upright and simply finishing East Coast Cat 3 races. I was a pavement magnet in crits, and road races over 50 miles were dicey affairs for my fledgling diesel endurance capacities. 1987 was largely spent generating scar tissue and getting shelled…what a great introduction to Senior racing.

I’ve only made a cursory perusal of cycling lore and legend, and as best I can tell the youngest Grand Tour finisher is Frenchman Henri Cornet who finished the 1904 Tour de France just shy of 20 years old (19 years, 354 days to be exact). Of course, Cornet did more than simply finish the Tour in 1904, he won it. Thanks to some nefarious and dastardly deeds out on the open roads of France, the first four finishers of the 1904 Tour were DQed, and fifth place Cornet was elevated to the top spot on the podium.

Fast forward 103 years…and witness the exploits of another teen wunderkind, Russian Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff Credit Systems), who’s just getting his feet wet in this year’s Giro d’Italia. If (and that’s one mighty generous if) Rovny perseveres and arrives in Milan on June 3rd, he’ll be about 4 months shy of his 20th birthday and will likely lay claim to being the youngest Grand Tour finisher. I’d say the odds are 50-50 that he’ll make it, and I’m only being that magnanimous because he’s Russian and likely tough as nails. Besides the likelihood of some old school Eastern Bloc genetic manipulation shennanigans under the hood, he’s probably been doing 600 mile weeks since he was 13. And take a look at this photo taken one day prior to the Giro’s first stage. Teenager my ass…Rovny looks rough. If I had to wager on who was the DS and who was riding the Giro just based on this photo, I’d have Konyshev kitted up and Rovny driving the team car, no question. Kids, just be glad that supplying your family with meager supplies of cabbage, beets, vodka, and a marginally functional Lada wasn’t dependent on riding your bike 30,000 miles a year and winning world titles while you’re still in high school.

Comments (1) to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

  1. íàãàòèíñêàÿ èíòèì…

    íàãàòèíñêàÿ èíòèì …

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