French cycling legend Jeannie Longo has all but clinched a place in the Beijing Olympics at the age of 49.
The five-time world champion staked her claim with an outstanding win in the time-trial at the French National Championships on Thursday. She finished in 31 minutes 16 seconds, over a minute ahead of second-placed Edwige Pitel.
The French team for China has yet to be named, but her win in the national championships puts her in prime position to grab a spot.
"My target was to represent France at the Olympic Games," Longo said. "Now, I am aiming at a podium placing. It will be tough and even if I finish in the first five at Beijing I will be happy."
Longo, who will be 50 in October, has won world titles in time-trials and road races, but her only Olympic gold came when she won the road race at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
© AFP 2008