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Dennis, Dekker up next in hour record race

Rohan Dennis is up first, with an attempt this Sunday in Switzerland

The race for the hour continues to heat up, with two more attempts on the horizon.

Just days after Jack Bobridge failed in an emotional effort to set a new mark, Rohan Dennis and Thomas Dekker are targeting attempts in the coming weeks.

Up first is Dennis, who will make his attempt Sunday at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland. Hot off his overall victory at the Santos Tour Down Under, the 24-year-old Australian will be aiming to better the mark set October 30 by Matthias Brändle of 51.852km.

Brändle bettered the distance of 51.115km set by Jens Voigt in late October, which served to reignite the latest wave of interest in the hour record following a UCI revision of the hour-record rules last May to allow pursuit-style bikes.

“When I look at my experience on the track, and the numbers I’ve been doing on the track and road, it’s within reach,” Dennis said. “There’s a number in my head; 52.5km. I’d be happy with that, but I’m trying to push toward 53km.”

Recently retired Cadel Evans will fire the gun for the hour attempt, set to begin at 2 p.m. CET.

Perhaps the most overlooked challenge comes later this month with Dekker. The 30-year-old Dutchman is currently without a team, and is focusing his efforts on an attempt February 25 in Aguascalientes, Mexico, located in the thin air 1,800 meters above sea level.

Dekker said he’s being realistic about his chances, especially in light of Dennis’s effort this weekend.

“It feels like an honor to take part in a historical event like the UCI Hour Record. I also know it’s a brutal event and that you need to face it with respect,” Dekker said in a press release. “Great riders tried to break it in the past and some succeed and some not. Brändle set a fantastic record, and he is the man to beat on this moment. But my teammate from last year, Rohan Dennis, is in his best form ever and a great rider. I’m curious to see what he can achieve on Sunday.”

A scheduled attempt by Movistar’s Alex Dowsett has been postponed after he broke his clavicle in training last month. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is eyeing the hour record, most likely some time in June, at the Olympic velodrome in London. There have been reports, however, that Wiggins is considering the Mallorca velodrome. Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) have also expressed interest, without setting a firm target date. Sarah Storey is working on an attempt at the women’s mark.

“The start of the year is busy with several UCI hour record attempts, showing that this legendary event has regained its appeal since we’ve changed the rules last year,” said UCI president Brian Cookson in a release. “I am pleased to see that riders are taking on the mark beyond Europe, in territories such as Oceania and the Americas where our sport enjoys a growing popularity. Jack Bobridge’s attempt demonstrated that the UCI Hour Record is not an easy one to achieve. Let’s see what the riders are capable of.”

Watch Dennis’ hour record attempt live on Sunday, February 8 at 8:00 a.m. EST >>