Jeannie Longo won her 57th national title at the French national championships on Thursday, decisively winning the women’s time trial event for third successive year.
The 51-year-old Longo covered the 24.7-kilometer course in Chantonnay a full 1:19 faster than two-time national champion Edwige Pitel, 43. Former national road champion Christel Ferrier-Bruneau, 30, finished third at 1:45.
The win represents Longo’s 57th French national title since she won her first in 1979. She has 15 national road race titles to her credit, nine time trial championships and the remainder across a variety of disciplines including the individual pursuit, points race and cyclocross.
The French national championships have only included a women’s time trial event since 1995. Longo, who turns 52 on October 31, is slated to compete in the women’s road race on Saturday. She finished third in that event last year.
Longo said she had specifically targeted this year’s time trial championship.
“I thought I would come in with a significant advantage given the amount of training I’ve put in,” said Longo, who lives Grenoble, but often trains in Colorado.
“It was my main goal, and I’ve been training hard for this since December.”
Longo’s presence in the women’s cycling peloton, whose average age is usually half her own, has on occasion prompted the odd grumble.
However the Frenchwoman known for her no-nonsense attitude has always defended her right to compete, no matter what her age.
That belief was vindicated Thursday, when, asked why her rivals could not match up, she suggested they “hadn’t done enough specific training. I’m sorry to say it, but they need to go back to the drawing board on a few things.”
“Still, you can’t discount my 30 years of experience,” added Longo, who actually won her first national championship jersey 31 years ago.
Among Longo’s achievements are five world titles in the women’s road race, four world time trial titles, three world titles in the pursuit and one in the points race.
Longo won the Olympic road race in Atlanta in 1996 and has a further two silver and one bronze from a total of seven Olympic participations.
French National Time Trial Championships
1. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Rhône-Alpes), 24.7 km in 34:51 (42.52kph)
2. Edwige Pitel (Michela Fanini), at 1:19
3. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Vienne Futuroscope), at 1:31
4. Aude Biannic (Bretagne), at 1:45
5. Julie Krasniak (Lorraine), at 1:48
6. Delphine Pelletier (Centre), at 2:04
7. Mélodie Lesueur (ESGL 93), at 2:09
8. Caroline Mani (Vienne Futuroscope), at 2:19
9. Audrey Cordon (Vienne Futuroscope), at 2:21
10. Amélie Rivat (Rhône-Alpes), at 3:03
Biography, Jeannie Longo
Born: October 31, 1958, Annecy, France
Road Race: 1st (1996), 2nd (1992)
Time Trial: 2nd (1996), 3rd (2000), 4th (2008)
Pursuit: 5th (1992)
Road Race: 1st (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1995), 2nd (1981, 1993), 3rd
Time Trial: 1st (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001), 2nd (2000), 3rd (1994)
Pursuit: 1st (1986, 1988, 1989), 2nd (1984, 1985, 1987), 3rd (1981, 1982,
Points Race: 1st (1989)
Tour de France Féminin: 1st (1987, 1988, 1989)
World Hour Record: 48,159 km, October 26, 1996 Mexico City
Road Race: Uninterrupted from 1979 to 1989, 1992, 1995, 2006, 2008
Time Trial: 1995, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010