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Matthias Brandle says hour record made a name for him, brought respect

Matthias Brändle says setting the hour record brought him respect in the peloton and made his name on the world stage

DOHA, Qatar (VN) — Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) saw his hour record surpassed by Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) Sunday, but his mark and reign changed his career.

“I’m looking the stage finish of the Tour of Qatar. If I get back in time from stage 1, I’ll watch it live on the internet, otherwise, I’ll re-watch a recording,” Brändle told VeloNews.

“I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep hold of the record for three months now. It gave me a lot of publicity, and continues to do so. It helped me make a name for myself around the world and gained me respect in the peloton.”

The 25-year-old Austrian arrived in Qatar’s capital city of Doha on Friday to begin his 2015 season. The 2014 season ended in Aigle, Switzerland, at cycling’s headquarters where he rode 51.852km in 60 minutes.

The greats — including Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, and Eddy Merckx — all set marks in their time.

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI changed the rules in May 2014 to allow pursuit style bikes and opened the tracks to a new wave of riders planning and attempting the hour record.

German Jens Voigt was the first to break the record in September after the UCI changed its rules. Brändle, only one month later on October 30, set a new mark.

His distance — 51.852km — was expected to fall quickly with the heavy hitters in the pipeline, but it has already withstood a challenge from Australian Jack Bobridge (Budget Forklifts). Bobridge came a half-kilometer shy when he covered 51.300km on January 31 in Melbourne, Australia.

“I watched the last 30 minutes and then the replay. I think everyone was a little surprised that Jack Bobridge didn’t beat the record,” Brändle said.

“Also, last year at the end of October, I was not in best shape. It wasn’t my best ride, so I gave Bobridge high chances to do beat my record.

“He began with a fast pace. After 15 minutes, he had an average of 54 kilometers, but then it dropped off quickly. He definitely started too fast. He took too many risks because you have to hold that pace over an hour. That makes the hour record harder.”

Australia’s Dennis, winner of a stage and the overall at the Tour Down Under in January, announced his attempt to beat the record Sunday in Switzerland, and Brändle expected that this attempt might succeed.

“Rohan Dennis is well-prepared from the Tour Down Under. If he has a good pacing and strategy, he has a good chance of beating my record,” said Brändle.

“Bradley Wiggins is going to try this summer. He’s here in the Tour of Qatar, but I don’t think he’ll be asking me for advice on the hour record. He doesn’t need it! I’m looking forward to race against him in the time trial this Tuesday in Qatar. I’m also targeting that stage. It’s interesting to see how close I can come.”

“With my new motivation, I want to aim for the classics this year: Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix. I have the engine to be good in the classics, but I need to learn now to race. If I show good results and I’m a good worker, then I think the question about riding the Tour de France will be answered on its own.”