Brandle aiming for 52 kilometres in taking on Voigt’s hour record on Thursday

by Shane Stokes


One day before he will attempt to break Jens Voigt’s world hour record, Matthias Brandle has said that he is aiming to go almost one kilometre per hour quicker than the German rider.

Voigt attacked the record on September 19 in Grenchen, Switzerland, with his 51.115 kilometre distance surpassing the previous record of 49.7 kilometres. This was set by the Czech Ondrej Sosenka on a standard bike on July 19, 2005 in Moscow.

Brandle announced his bid one week ago and while he admitted then he didn’t know if he could beat the mark, he has gained confidence in the past seven days. “I have spent five days on the track after a lot of training on the road in Austria,” he said on Wednesday. “The tactic is not to start to fast, and to beat the record. I want to try to get to 52 kilometres.”

Although he’s not as well known as Voigt, Brandle is a strong rider in his own right. He’s almost twenty years younger than the now-retired Trek Factory Racing rider, and hopes to gain an edge because of that. He will also draw on the emotions he felt when he saw the older rider reach the new mark.

When the 24 year old announced his bid last week, he said that emulating Voigt was one of his motivations. “I am 100% focused on this project, which is very close to my heart,” he stated then. “I have decided to try my luck because I have been impressed by Jens Voigt since I was a young child.”

Elaborating on that on the eve of his record attempt, he said that the hour record has been an interesting idea for a while. “The idea was already a long time in my mind. My manager Tony Rominger also did this record,” he said, referring to the former Swiss professional.

“Then this year the UCI changed the rules. I didn’t know about it, but then when Jens beat the record I said, okay, maybe I can do it also. I then asked the team if they can do tests together with me; we did them before the Tour de Lombardy. After that we decided that I have a good chance of beating it, and so we go for it.”

Voigt’s effort took place on the Grenchen track. It is 250 metres in diameter; the Aigle velodrome is 50 metres shorter, making the demands different.

For some a shorter track is considered more difficult, but Brandle said that he is sure he is making his attempt in the right location.

“We did different tests, one in Grenchen and one in Aigle,” he explained. “In Aigle I felt very comfortable. I felt welcomed by the UCI.

“The track is also really fast and I like the short straights and the corners. It may be a little bit hard because you have to do a lot more laps, but I feel really comfortable here.

“It also suits IAM very good. We are near the Lake of Geneva, it is close to our base, and so for me it is the perfect choice to do it here.”
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Time trial specialist takes to the boards:

Brandle is a multiple winner of his national time trial championships and has been with IAM Cycling for the past two seasons. His past victories include the points classification in the 2011 Tour de Romandie, the sprints classification in the same race two years later plus the mountains classification in the Tour de l’Ain. He also won this year’s Tour de Berne.

However he derived particular satisfaction from his back to back stage wins in this year’s Tour of Britain, efforts which greatly boosted his confidence and helped him believe he could achieve the next big goal.

Brandle trained Wednesday and had a massage. A test run was scheduled from five to six o’clock local time Wednesday evening, giving him a chance to check his condition and also to warm up his body prior to Thursday’s big effort.

Much of his bid will depend on how he is feeling, of course, but there is also an important element with regard to his equipment and gear choices.

“Scott already worked for a long time on this project,” he said. ‘Yesterday I spoke with Lars from Scott and he said that they already started it in June because you need to select the bike at the UCI, get it checked and get a mark that it is track proven. They already had this since June or July.

“When my idea came, Scott could provide me with a bike really quickly. We just had to do a few modifications. The gear that I will use will be a little bit bigger than Jens. I will 55 in the front and behind a 13 so I can use my power a little bit more.”

As regards his bike position, he spent time in the wind tunnel in September and will keep the same setup as was dialled in then.

Brandle has completed 61 days this season and ridden almost 10,000 kilometres in competition. Many riders have already taken time off the bike, but he has instead kept working in order to be ready for the hour record. He ruled out any thoughts of staleness at this point of year.

“It is the first time in my career that I am still motivated at this part [of the season] for racing and training,” he said.
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“It is maybe because I had a seven week break from racing in July, just training. I really got rested. After that I just did the Tour of Norway, the Tour of Britain and the world championships. I still have power left for the hour.”

It’s evident that he’s also got plenty of motivation. “I am really looking forward to it and am counting the hours down,” Brandle said, showing enthusiasm. “I am waiting for it…I want to show what I can do.”
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