By Anthony Tan
At 43 years old, and more than 20 years after he first turned professional for Ti Raleigh-Weinmann in 1984, Britain's Malcolm Elliot is still going strong.
When the US team he was riding for folded in 1997, the then 36 year-old decided to take a break from the sport, most thinking for good. But almost six years later, his name began popping up on various startlists.
"I think it was to see if I could do it [again]," he said an interview with Cyclingnews in 2003.
"Initially, my plan was just to get fit enough to be able to do the Masters' races, and I was thinking about the national Master's Championships at the time, thinking it would be nice to go to that. But I just missed the cycling scene and being part of it. I had nothing to do with it at all during those last five years, and I needed to have it as part of my life again."
Right now, Elliot's riding the FBD Insurance Rás stage race in Ireland, and doing very well indeed. Taking the fourth stage from Lisdoonvarna to Templemore in a bunch gallop, showing that he's lost none of his speed, and sitting pretty in second overall on the general classification with three stages to go, could we be seeing the oldest winner of the Rás come Sunday?
Elliot doesn't think so, stating his target is to win stages, but after yesterday's much talked about stage that was supposed to break the bunch into pieces, 53 riders all finished within five seconds of each other. And regardless of what he says, it's hard to ignore a person lying eight seconds off the lead - race leader Chris Newton (Recycling.co.uk) certainly isn't.
"I've had six years out of the sport - which is a long time away - so I'm treating this year as a fresh start to the sport and trying not to make too many comparisons," he said to Cyclingnews two years ago.
"But really, just to keep winning races and showing the younger guys how to do it. And when I do finally decide to stop, I want it to be on my terms; and when I do stop, I want to be involved, not slip into the shadows again."
The way he's currently going, there's little chance of that happening.
See also: 2003 interview with Malcolm Elliot - Only as young as you feel