Wiggins aims high: 55.250km in an hour
MILAN (VN) — Bradley Wiggins aims to put the hour record high and out of reach on the shelf this Sunday in London. He not only wants to break Alex Dowsett’s 52.937-kilometer record, but go 55.250km and perhaps even reach 56.375km.
After quitting top-level road racing with Sky after Paris-Roubaix, Wiggins turned his attention to the UCI hour record and the 2016 Olympics. As he has done with every achievement in his career — a Tour de France win, a time trial world championship, and four Olympic gold medals — he calculated every step to the precise movement.
“Pace judgement is everything in the hour record,” Wiggins told Sky Sports News.
“If you can ride 16.1- or 16.2-second laps constantly for 221 laps, and not go 15.9s or 16.4s. It’s keeping it on the line every lap, lap after lap.
“It’s like sitting on the motorway in the fast lane revving it in third gear, braking really hard, revving it. It’s just a case of putting it in cruise control at 70mph and sitting. It’s the most efficient way for a record like this.”
Wiggins’ motorway is the velodrome at the Lee Valley VeloPark, which hosted the track cycling events during the 2012 London Olympics. Since Paris-Roubaix, Wiggins has been camped there as he rides circles on the 250-meter track.
A couple weeks ago, after Englishman Alex Dowsett (Movistar) broke the 52.491km mark set by Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), Wiggins essentially slammed his fist on the bar with authority by saying he was already ready to ride 55km. No one on a normal bike has ever gone such a distance.
Dowsett and Dennis struggled to reach their marks inside 53 kilometers. Others, including Jack Bobridge and Thomas Dekker, tried and failed to set records.
Wiggins, however, is so confident that he even said he could reach Chris Boardman’s 56.375km mark achieved in the now illegal Superman position in 1996.
“If the conditions are right on the day. They would have to be really right,” Wiggins added. “A lot of the hour record is dictated by temperature and air pressure. Air pressure is everything.”
The UCI announced new rules for the hour record last year, which included the use of standard-looking frames and box rims like the bike Eddy Merckx used for his 1972 record. In May 2014, the UCI modified the rules again to allow track bikes. Since then, there has been a resurgence in record attempts.
Wiggins could make the hour record untouchable for many years given his track background that has brought him two individual pursuit Olympic gold medals and one in the team pursuit event.
“It’s knowing your body, how far you can push yourself. Just that feel on the track. Riding a fixed wheel, no distractions, no inclines, no corners, no gear changes,” he said.
“It’s just gerbil on the wheel type thing. Nothing to think about but the black line, which is why the record is so hard. If it was that easy then anyone could do it.”