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Trek Factory Racing general manager Luca Guercilena as acknowledged that Jens Voigt’s well-know wavering style and wandering front wheel will cost the German rider some distance in his hour record attempt today, but says that there have been attempts made to try to limit this as much as possible.
He said that if things goes to plan, the 43 year old rider should beat the previous record of 49.7 kilometres, set by the Czech Ondrej Sosenka on a standard bike on July 19, 2005 in Moscow.
“His normal position when he is going at a good pace is quite shaky left-right with the hips, in consequence with the shoulders and legs,” Guercilena told CyclingTips on Thursday. “But during these weeks we tried to focus him on trying to hold on in the perfect position, both in terms of aerodynamics and style.
“But it is true that especially when he starts to get tired, after 40 minutes, the typical Jens Voigt pedalling style comes out again. He is shaking his hips. So for sure he will lose some metres, but we are quite confident that with all the training done, it will not be as much as it could be if he was just going on the track for a ride.
“I think he can make it, and make it well.”
Voigt confirmed his retirement from road racing in August but had one last surprise for his fans; on September 3 he announced that he would take on cycling world hour record in Grenchen, Switzerland. He has worked in preparation for that bid since then and, according to Guercilena, those backing Voigt believe he can do it.
“I am quite confident if nothing happens. I can’t say it will be easy, as it will be a big effort, but I think he can beat it.
“In training we tried to focus on something acceptable, in terms of pace. We think he can be close to 50.3 kilometres per hour, but in a nice expectation we should also support him going a bit higher than that. Let’s say between 50.5 and maybe 51 kilometres per hour.”
Guercilena explained that that the builtup period was divided into different segments, each focussing on different aspects.
He said the initial period was used to adapt to the demands and technique of riding on the track and to building confidence. Last week saw a greater emphasis on physiological loading, working at various intensities and also doing timed tests. The latter included a combined session of 30 and 40 minutes at hour record pace, separated by a brief lull in between.
“This week we have been riding at world hour record pace but for shorter, half an hour,” he said. “Just to see if there were any specific problems. We followed the normal approach taken in time trial circumstances – we looked at the power, the heart rate, the cadence and so on. We tried to do the best possible efforts to allow him to make a good assessment of things.”
Voigt’s bid has already resulted in massive publicity for the team’s title sponsor Trek, and whatever happens the company has already gained. It will of course reap a lot more attention of his bid is successful; longer term, it is believed that the data gained by Voigt will be used to help team-mate Fabian Cancellara mount his own attack on the record.
Guercilena confirmed that they are still looking towards a possible Cancellara bid, but that no date has been set.
“For now we are really, really focussed on the world championships [for Cancellara]. It will be good to have all this data coming out from Jens as a test, but to define exactly a period next year is difficult because we need to let it fit into the road race season. For us, the road race season is for sure more important.
“At the moment we have not discussed this timing. But it should be next season.”
In a matter unrelated to the hour record, he also confirmed that there was no news about whether or not Andy Schleck might stay with the team.
“At the moment he is still taking care of his health,” he said, referring to the knee injury suffered by the Luxembourg rider when he crashed on stage three of the Tour de France “We don’t have any kind of discussion about next year. We are still on a standby position at the moment.”
Pressed as to whether there was possibility that Schleck might stay, he said time would tell. “It is a bit difficult at the moment. But never say never.”
Obree on the hour record: “It is a whole phenomenon rebooted” [link]
What you need to know about Jens Voigt’s attempt at the hour record [link]
LIVE STREAM: Jens Voigt Hour World Record Attempt [link]