Scots cyclist Graeme Obree has abandoned his bid to reclaim the world hour record held by England’s Chris Boardman.
Obree, who held the record before Boardman set his mark of 49.441km under new rules in 2000, told AFP of his decision after a test ride on Sunday at the Manchester velodrome suggested he was too far away from record-breaking fitness.
Obree, 38, has been retired from top-level cycling since 2001. He called off Sunday’s test after 12 minutes in which he averaged 47 km/h, significantly below the pace required to break Boardman’s record, established on the same track on October 27, 2000.
“I was averaging 47 km/h, so I quickly realized that I was not ready and I stopped after 12 minutes,” Obree told AFP from Irvine, Scotland. “Given that I can only train on the road (there is no velodrome in Scotland) it will take me far too long to get back to the level required. So I’ve decided to give up the idea of breaking the record and I will now have to reconsider my objectives.”
Obree made his breakthrough in 1993 when he won at the world track championships in Norway on a homemade bike with a bearing salvaged from a washing machine.
In the same year, he broke the one-hour world record by covering 51.596km, but the record stood for just six days before Olympic gold medalist Boardman shattered it, only for Obree to reclaim the record in 1994.
His new mark was subsequently beaten by Spain’s Miguel Indurain, Switzerland’s Tony Rominger (twice), and then Boardman.
New rules were then introduced, limiting the extent to which bicycles could be adapted from standard models.
“I will continue with road cycling and I plan to write a training guide for amateur cyclists,” said Obree, who has recently released an autobiography entitled “The Flying Scotsman.”
As well as his cycling exploits, the book covers Obree’s battle with manic depression, which resulted in a failed suicide attempt in 1997.