Celebrating the variety on offer at this year's Olympic off-roading

There’s an excellent array of humans taking part in the the Olympic cross-country event in Rio this summer.

Despite their extreme classifications they could all quite easily whip our arses in a race!

Sabine Spitz (pic: Red Bull Content Pool)

Sabine Spitz (pic: Red Bull Content Pool)

The oldest

Germany’s legendary XC dominatrix (can we say that?) Sabine Spitz was born on 27th December 1971. She’ll be 44 years old on the day of the Rio race.

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The youngest

Denmark’s Simon Andreassen will be 21 on the 30th September. Which means he’s currently only 20 years of age and will be racing around Rio’s Deodoro Park. The rest of us at that age were just trying to hold down a part-time job in McDonalds.

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Perrine Clauzel (pic: Perrine Clauzel/Facebook)

Perrine Clauzel (pic: Perrine Clauzel/Facebook)

The shortest

In the women’s field 5′ 1″ Perrine Clauzel (FRA) leads the way in the dinky stakes. For the men the shortest height is 5″ 6′ which is held by Jhonnatan Botero Villegas (COL) and Andrey Fonseca (CRC – Costa Rica, not a certain Northern Irish cycle retailer)

The tallest

Portuguese gigantor Tiago Jorge Oliveira Ferreira is a 29er-specific 6″ 4′ tall. Germany’s Helen Grobert is the tallest of the women racers at a not-that-lanky 5″ 9′.

Leandre Bouchard (pic: Leandre Bouchard/Twitter)

Leandre Bouchard (pic: Leandre Bouchard/Twitter)

The heaviest

Ahah! It’s not the tallest who are the heaviest. Interesting. Canadian Leandre Bouchard is the heaviest chap at 179lbs (he is only a smidge shorter than Ferreira so it’s not too surprising to see him here). Danish Annika Langvad packs the most muscle in the women’s field at 139lbs.

The lightest

At 99lbs Russia’s Irina Kalentyeva will be rocking an impressive power to weight ratio in the women’s field. In the men’s race there are three riders nudging the scales up to 128lbs: Howard Grotts (USA), Shlomi Haimy (ISR) and – him again – Jhonnatan Botero Villegas (COL).

Jolanda Neff (pic: Red Bull Content Pool)

Jolanda Neff (pic: Red Bull Content Pool)

The tiredest

Total cycling legend Jolanda Neff (SUI) has already competed in the women’s road race at this year’s Olympics. Oof! Impressive stuff as usual from The Neffster. Take note Mr Sagan.

The luckiest

Team GB’s grant Ferguson could claim this title. Although it shouldn’t take a lucky ‘wildcard’ spot for a British rider to be allowed to race the Olympics, that’s pretty much why Ferguson is currently in Rio rather than at home in Scotland. Sort yerselves out British Cycling!

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The unluckiest

Dare we mention Julien Absalon’s first lap puncture nightmare at London 2012? Lightning can’t strike twice. Can it?

The nearest

Brazilian bikers reprazentin’ in the Olympic MTB events: Raiza Goulao-Henrique (women’s), Rubens Donizete Valeriano and Henrique Avancini (both in the men’s)

The furthest

Japan is almost exactly on the other side of the glove to Rio de Janeiro. Japan’s sole racer will be Kohei Yamamoto.


Niino Schurter (pic: Red Bull Content Pool)

The best

It’s going to take some sort of miracle for Nino Schurter not to win the men’s Gold medal isn’t it? And even though she’ll not be exactly rested, it should still be Jolanda Neff on the top step of the women’s podium

Dr Peter Lombard (pic: Lombard Health)

Dr Peter Lombard (pic: Lombard Health)

The worst

“Worst” is far too harsh really. Let’s call him an “underdog” instead. Who? 40 year old ophthalmologist Dr. Peter Lombard from Guam (yes, it’s a country).

Lombard earned the title of 2016 Guam National MTB Champion which allowed him to compete in the UCI Oceania MTB XC Championship in New Zealand. Mountain biking in the Oceania region is dominated by Australia and New Zealand. Lombard: “They did well enough in qualification that there was a third spot allocated to the next ranked country in Oceania. By virtue of competing at the Oceania Mountain Bike Championship this year, I was able to earn points for Guam.

“When I won the Guam National Championship race I started to believe it was possible (to qualify for the Olympics). But I still wrestled with a lot of self-doubt, particularly when considering the gap between the talent at the professional levels. Making training a priority while also just starting a business has been quite a challenge”