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Who is Matthias Brandle, the new hour record holder?

The Austrian lengthened the mark to 51.852 kilometers Thursday in Switzerland

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MILAN (VN) — Matthias Brändle is the man of the hour after setting the new hour mark Wednesday on the UCI’s track in Aigle, Switzerland, but little is known about team IAM Cycling’s Austrian.

“Why did I choose to do this?” Brändle asked himself midway through his 51.852-kilometer ride. “Every pedal stroke felt harder and harder toward the end of the hour.”

The 51.852 mark topped the 51.11-kilometer record set by Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) in September. It prodded media around the world to talk about the 24-year-old. His name — with the must-have umlaut — stands beside cycling’s greats who have taken on and beat the hour record, names like Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx, and Chris Boardman.

“It won’t change his life,” IAM Cycling owner Michel Thétaz told VeloNews.

“He’s been moving up step by step over the last years, he’s a very sound guy. He’s not going to be carried away by being one of the hour men. He’ll be back on the road in 2015.”

The record could become a turning point for such a young rider’s career. It is something for him to think about when he returns home to Vorarlberg in western Austria. His father will be happy to have him back. He takes any extra jerseys or shorts from his son and joins him on rides, putting in 8,000-9,000 kilometers a year.

Brändle’s hometown borders Liechtenstein and Switzerland, but he’s Austrian and the first rider from his country to break the record. He is also the youngest hour record holder in 57 years, since Frenchman Roger Rivière broke it for the first time in 1957 at 21 years old.

At 20 years old, Brändle was also the youngest cyclist in 30 years to finish the Giro d’Italia in 2010, his first grand tour. He explained when the Giro d’Italia reached its finish in Verona’s Roman Arena that he wanted to become a grand tour rider. Since then, he has switched teams from Geox to NetApp to IAM, but kept his vision.

IAM Cycling races in the second division and relies on wildcard entries into the grand tours. In 2014, it received one of the coveted four invitations to race the Tour de France, but Brändle was overlooked when the Swiss team selected its nine cyclists.

IAM also left Brändle out of the Vuelta a España team, but sent him to the GP Ouest France-Plouay to help its star rider Sylvain Chavanel win, and to the Tour of Britain, where Brändle won a pair of stages back-to-back. At the same time, he set his sights on the hour record.

Following his grand tour debut in Italy at age 20, he helped Geox teammate Juan José Cobo beat Chris Froome (Sky) at the 2011 Vuelta and animated the 2012 Giro with team NetApp.

The big three-week races are still on his mind. His goal is to make it onto next year’s team for the French grand tour and to wear the leader’s jersey by applying his time trial skills in the first stage in Utrecht and his climbing skills in the following stages.

“It’s so hard to make the grand tour teams. This year, we had 13 riders going for the nine-man team and we had to leave Matthias off,” Thétaz said.

“You see him in the stages, though, he can do 250km and win. He’s a breakaway rider, a stage winner like what we saw in the Tour of Britain this year.”

Merckx, Boardman, Voigt, and now Brändle. He said last night that he does not pretend that his name will stay on the top of the list forever, but it is there now.