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One week after Jens Voigt set a new world hour record of 51.115 kilometres in Switzerland, Britain’s Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that he intends taking on the mark in June 2015.
“I want to prepare for it properly,” Wiggins told the BBC, specifying the period of year in which the attempt will be made. “It will give me something to get out of bed for in the winter.
“I want to have a go at the one hour record next year after what Jens did last week. I was a bit surprised by Jens’s decision to do it but what he did was fantastic and fully deserved.
He has been working hard for the world time trial championships, which will be held in Ponferadda, Spain, later today, and suggested that his condition could well be good enough to beat Voigt’s time. However he said that he wants to build up specifically for the event and go as far as he can go.
“I could just go and do it next week but if I do it, I’ll only do it once,” he said.
Voigt’s time came weeks after the Trek Factory Racing rider said that he had retired from the sport. It was one final surprise for his fans, and saw him improve on the 49.7 kilometre mark set by the Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka in Moscow nine years ago.
That was achieved on a bike similar to that used by Eddy Merckx when he set his own record in 1972. However, a change in UCI rules allowed riders to start using more modern technology, and Voigt took advantage of this to go almost a kilometre and a half faster.
Wiggins is regarded as a better time trialist than Voigt. In addition to that, he has taken world championship and Olympic titles on the track and thus has much more experience in the velodrome.
Former world hour record holder Graeme Obree told CyclingTips last week that he believed Wiggins would be capable of covering 54 kilometres in a hour.
The change in UCI rules plus the successful Voigt attempt has increased the chances of other riders also taking on the record. Apart from Wiggins, Voigt’s team-mate Fabian Cancellara is thought likely to make an attempt sometime next year.
It is not yet clear if that will occur before or after Wiggins’ June attempt. Speaking to CyclingTips last week, team manager Luca Guercelina said that no date has been set.
“For now we are really, really focussed on the world championships [for Cancellara],” he stated then. “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.”
Wiggins said that he believes Voigt’s record is beatable. “It was encouraging Jens went so fast. It set a marker, and it was good for the sport. Someone had to do it first and now it’s a realistic aim… not like the record Chris Boardman set 14 years ago!”
He also told the BBC that his plans to return to track racing in advance of the 2016 Olympics meant that participation in next year’s Tour de France was unlikely.
“I think the Tour de France is probably out the window, and the world time trial, because of the demands and trying to change your body shape,” he said. “It’s very different for four-minute efforts and one hour.”