History was made not once but twice yesterday at the Tour of Spain. American Christopher Horner became the first North American cyclist to win the coveted, three-week race, but at 41, he’s now the oldest rider in history to win a grand tour race to boot.
The 21st and final stage of the Vuelta a España saw Horner finish in 47th place, but his gains over the past several legs were enough to come out on top overall, 37 seconds over Italian Vincenzo Nibali, who took second place. Alejandro Valverde of Spain clocked in third at the Madrid trek.
“I have faced younger and great riders like Nibali, Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez,” Horner said at a press conference following the win. “They have had a great tour so for me it is a legendary moment that may not be repeated.”
The previous record for oldest winner of a grand tour race was Firmin Lambot, who won in 1922 at age 36. Horner, who will turn 42 next month, said he was “very proud of my work and above all that of my teammates,” while runner-up, and last year’s champ, Nibali admitted he may have underestimated the veteran rider.