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Chris Horner won the Vuelta a España, becoming the oldest rider to win a grand tour. Those of us who are master blasters have a glimmer of hope. Or do we? As he closed in on the overall win, there were more than a few raised eyebrows. How does a 41-year-old win a grand tour?
Why does one 41-year-old win a grand tour, while another is a super domestique who works hard and wins the occasional race stage? There doesn’t seem to be much research on the performance of elite athletes as they age. The abstracts I’ve read don’t distinguish whether the subjects were elite runners, riders etc or committed lifelong amateurs.
At the end of the race, Horner missed a doping control, through no fault of his own. That didn’t exactly contribute to a warm and fuzzy feeling about his win.
Did Horner do it clean? I hope so. He’s published his biological passport results.
…A number of blogs, forums and comment sections [have speculated] as to whether Horner is redacted rider number 15. For the record, Horner has never tested positive, and has never been sanctioned by an anti-doping authority. - Daniel Benson, cyclingnews.com
There are contrasting views on Horner’s win. Cycling News discussed the possibility that Horner was one of the redacted names in USADA’s reasoned decision against Lance Armstrong.
Meanwhile, the redoubtable Inner Ring suggests that if we get suspicious over an anomalous result, it’s our problem. I want to believe that he’s right. And that’s the most insidious thing about doping. Everyone is suspect.