Time trailers, it seems, are making the most out of the current lack of road racing due to the coronavirus crisis. And while world time trial champion Rohan Dennis has been cleaning up on the virtual race scene, his Ineos teammate Filippo Ganna is seriously considering an attack of the world hour record.
“People often ask me about the world hour record, and I have to admit that I have been thinking about it in the many hours spent in the house these past weeks,” Ganna told the Italian site tuttobiciweb.it. Like most Italians, Ganna has been living in lockdown for the past two months. And while he was planning to make his grand tour debut in the Giro, the numerous hours on the home trainer seem to only have enhanced his focus on his specialty — the race against the clock.
The 23-year-old Ganna, who recently broke the world four-kilometer record (4 minutes, 1.934 seconds) at the world track championships, in Berlin, says that in addition to becoming the first rider to break the four-minute mark, he would like to attack the mythic world hour record, currently held by Victor Campenaerts. The Belgian broke the previous record by 2012 Tour de France champ, Bradley Wiggins, by 563 meters, when he covered 55.089 kilometers in April of 2019.
“Campenaerts put the bar incredibly high, but challenges are meant to be matched, and records are meant to be broken. As long as I ride, I am going to try to better the performances of others.”
Campenaerts himself reportedly proposed attempting a sea-level attempt at the London Olympic Velodrome behind closed doors, earlier this year when COVID-19 crisis was just starting to have an impact on cycling, forcing numerous races to be canceled. His own record was set over a mile high, in Mexico. But according to Campenaerts, the U.C.I., refused the attempt at this time, a decision he respects.
Ganna understands that for the U.C.I. as well as his Team Ineos, the current priority is rescheduling the maximum number of races at the end of the season. But he insists, “When the new calendar is established and the team has a clearer idea of things to come, I will propose an attempt. If there is room in the calendar, why not?”
But Ganna is taking nothing for granted, and understands the magnitude of such an effort. “When Wiggins broke the record he said that it was the hardest effort of his life. And that is coming from someone who won the Tour de France!”