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Alex Dowsett: I can’t see Evenepoel or Van Aert currently beating Ganna’s UCI Hour Record

'I’m going to upset all of Belgium but I struggle to see anyone right now that can break it. The old track craft has something to do with it,' Dowsett tells VeloNews.

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Former UCI Hour Record Holder Alex Dowsett doesn’t believe that the present generation of riders can currently beat Filippo Ganna’s new record distance.

Ganna tore up the record books in Grenchen, Switzerland, on Saturday. He posted a new jaw-dropping distance of 56.792km, a whopping 1.244km further than the previous record set by Dan Bigham earlier this year.

Dowsett held the record in 2015 before being surpassed by Bradley Wiggins and then a handful of other riders. The Israel Premier-Tech pro expected Ganna to set a new record, he was blown away by the final margin.

“I think it’s gone. I was surprised, and while we all know Ganna’s ability, I was surprised that he broke it by that much,” Dowsett told VeloNews.

“I thought, and wrongly, that the higher the speed the more the relationship between power and aerodynamics shifts in favor of aerodynamics. I thought that he’d break it by a little bit because he’s very aero but also very big.

“The whole that he punches in the air is bigger. To overcome that it requires more power so finding the difference between 56 and 57kph is so much bigger than 45 and 46kph. We’re at the limits of human performance, so small gains are really tough to find. I thought Ganna’s size would impede him more than it did but it was wonderful to be proven wrong because as someone who knows how hard those lap times are to achieve, to see someone doing 15.2s was just staggering.”

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Such was Ganna’s performance in Switzerland that few expect the record to be broken any time soon.

Dowsett himself had a tilt at a second record attempt late last year but came up short and even with Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert establishing themselves as world class time trialists, Dowsett doubts whether they have the current desire and numbers to topple the Italian.

“I’m going to upset all of Belgium but I struggle to see anyone right now that can break it. The old track craft has something to do with it,” Dowsett added.

“The other two strongest time trialists in Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel, neither have the extensive track background that Ganna has. Everyone from Rohan Dennis onwards had a background on the track, apart from Victor Campenaerts, who went and lived in Mexico for a month and was on the track almost everyday. I don’t think there’s anyone currently who can trouble Ganna’s record.”

If Evenepoel devoted himself to the track for an extended period of time, then Dowsett believes that the Vuelta a España winner could be a factor in years to come, while he tipped his fellow countryman Ethan Hayter as a potential contender in the future.

“If Remco was to spend time on the track then I think that he has the right CDA power combination and maybe Ethan Hayter in a couple of years if his time trial improves over the next couple of years. That’s just speculation though as I don’t know his numbers but it’s a ‘perhaps’.”