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Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) smashed the UCI world hour record Monday by covering 49.254km at the Tissot Velodrome in Grenchen, Switzerland.
The Dutch rider rode 97 laps of the velodrome, breaking the previous record of 48.405km, set by Joss Lowdon in the same velodrome in Grenchen in September.
“When I started I saw a black line, and then I saw that for a one hundred and ninety-something laps,” she joked after completing her record-breaking ride.
“At the beginning I was a bit nervous, but I was good and under control. I did exactly what we wanted to do,” she said. “If I felt great, I wanted to accelerate in the second part, but instead of that I slowed down a little bit. I knew after half an hour that I was doing laps around 18.1 or 18.2 [seconds] and I knew that I was well under the pace that I needed. So I thought if I don’t slow down too much then I should have it.”
Turning a gear of 58×14, van Dijk was tucked into an aero position in which her head was bowed and her gaze directed downwards.
“I think I was almost never over five, maybe sometimes, I couldn’t hear everything. Everything became a little bit blurry, and especially at the end I was not so straight anymore. I was just so happy when I heard it was over.
“I thought about the whole team during the ride, everybody put so much time and effort into this, I needed to give it all. In the end all I can say is: ride bikes, have fun, feel good!”
Despite the discomfort and huge effort, she remained composed throughout her ride, never rocking and rolling on the bike, even in the punishing final laps when the dance music she had requested played in the velodrome.
Van Dijk was up on Lowden’s record from the very first lap, and continued to run a faster pace throughout the entire hour.
Fifteen minutes into her ride, she had covered 12.250km, at a pace 21.5 seconds faster than Lowden’s record. Then by the halfway point she had completed 24.750km, by this point 42.1 seconds ahead of what she needed to break the record.
At the 15 minutes to go mark, 37km had been completed, and she was nearly up by a minute on Lowden’s time, at 55.8 seconds.
She broke the record with a minute to spare, and then rode another 849 metres to extend the record.
Van Dijk adds the UCI hour record to her illustrious palmares, which already included three world time trial titles, a European world road title, multiple overall stage race titles, and classics including the 2014 Tour of Flanders.
She used all of her time trial powers in her ride today, and set a benchmark that will be very difficult for the next challenger to better.