Over the years, more and more cyclists are emerging at a very high level at an incredibly young age. Cyclists of the likes of Egan Bernal and Tadej Pogacar have given way to riders like Remco Evenepoel, while other great talents have already reaped great results before the age of 20 this season, such as Juan Ayuso and Magnus Sheffield. Remco Evenepoel’s coach explains the phenomenon.
“Before, you weren’t a cyclist until around the age of 22 and the best results were achieved around the age of 27 or 28. This was mainly due to the delay in the orienteering field and not to the pure margin of physical growth,” he explains. the Belgian’s coach, Koen Pelgrim, told RIDE magazine.
Whereas just a decade ago runners used to peak in their mid/late 20s and early 30s, the biggest wins have quickly gone to runners in their early 20s. So much so that, frequently, the general classification and the youth classification coincide in the stage races.
“Cyclists today are taking the sport much more seriously at a much younger age,” Pelgrim explains. “As a result, they develop faster than the old guard. That’s why these talents now take the big steps before they turn 20 and the opportunities for growth in the years after are less.”
The evolution of training methods and general professionalism in the youth ranks has seen some drivers reach an incredibly high level entering their professional career, and this is increasingly the case.
The drawback is precisely that evolution also stops at a younger age, since these physiological steps are taken earlier in the runner’s career. How the current generation of riders evolve and endure a long career remains to be seen, however, as most have not yet reached the age where their peers would peak until a few years ago.