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Alex Dowsett announces another attempt at world hour record

The former record-holder will make another run at the mark of 55.089km nearly a year after initially scheduled date.

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British rider Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) will make another run on the hour record on November 3, 2021, at the velodrome in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Dowsett had previously announced a run on the record for December 12, 2020, at the Manchester, UK, velodrome, however, he contracted COVID-19 weeks before the attempt, and was forced to delay.

“When I took the record in 2015, we rode enough to break the record, but I knew I had more in the tank at the end which was frustrating given the work put in by everyone. Last year’s attempt was derailed when I contracted Covid-19 but the same reasons for wanting to do it are all still there,” Dowsett said. “I want to see what I’m capable of and it’s an event I just really love and feel privileged to have the opportunity to take on again.”

Dowsett held the UCI hour record of 52.937km set on May 2, 2015, in Manchester. Bradley Wiggins upped the bar to 54.526km just 36 days later.

Recently, Dowsett has been following a special training schedule to ready for his attempt, including spending time in a wind tunnel for bike and skinsuit testing.

“In terms of difficulty, I know the bar has been set extremely high by Victor [Campenaerts]. It’s going to be a very big ask but I think I’m capable. The biggest hurdle this time with it being in Mexico will be the altitude.

“Being at altitude the power output required will be lower than at sea level because of the thin air, but it’s not all plain sailing as the thin air also brings a tougher environment for breathing. We think in the end it should be more beneficial than detrimental to be at altitude,” said Dowsett.

Since the UCI updated the rules governing equipment and body positions allowed for the hour record in 2014, just 23 attempts have been made by men, and eight have been made by women.

Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) is the current men’s hour record holder, with a distance of 55.089km, set on April 16, 2019, at the Aguascalientes velodrome. The women’s hour record was set by Joss Lowden on September 30, 2021, when she rode 48.405km at the Tissot Velodrome in Grenchen, Switzerland.

Current world road time trial champion Filippo Ganna (Indeos Grenadiers) has also expressed interest in the hour record.

The Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport he’s is eyeing an attempt after setting a 57.5kph pace in a 30-minute test earlier in 2021.

“I tried in Montichiari after a period of altitude after the Giro d’Italia. The test only lasted thirty minutes and after that, I was broken. I now understand that you have to plan everything very well and it requires an incredible effort,” Ganna said.

Should Ganna make an attempt, it would likely not occur before summer 2022.

Jens Voigt’s modified Trek Speed Concept used when he set the hour record in 2014. (Photo: Greg Kaplan)

Successful UCI hour record attempts by men

April 16, 2019: Victor Campenaerts at Velodromo Bicentenario, Aguascalientes, Mexico 55.089km
June 7, 2015: Bradley Wiggins at Lee Valley VeloPark, London, UK, 54.526km
May 2, 2015: Alex Dowsett at National Cycling Centre, Manchester, UK, 52.937km
February 8, 2015: Rohan Dennis at Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen, Switzerland, 52.491km
October 20 2014: Matthias Brändle at UCI World Cycling Centre, Aigle, Switzerland, 51.852km
September 18, 2014: Jens Voigt at Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen, Switzerland, 51.110km

Successful UCI hour record attempts by women

September 30, 2021: Joscelin Lowden at Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen, Switzerland, 48.405km
September 13 2018: Vittoria Bussi at at Velodromo Bicentenario, Aguascalientes, Mexico 48.007km
February 27, 2016: Evelyn Stevens at OTC Velodrome, Colorado, USA, 47.980km
January 22, 2016: Bridie O’Donnell at Super-Drome, Adelaide, Australia, 46.882km
September 12, 2015: Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, at Velodromo Bicentenario, Aguascalientes, Mexico, 46.273km