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In contrast to the well-publicised build-ups of the other riders who have attacked the world hour record, the Swede Gustav Larsson has announced just four days in advance that he intends to try to break the record on Saturday.
The 34 year old will make his attempt at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester as part of the programme for the Revolution Series. He will begin his ride at 15.30 local time, and will attempt to break Rohan Dennis’ mark of 52.491 kilometres.
“I am very confident of breaking the Swedish hour record but it is the world record I am after” Larsson stated. “I think it will be possible – it will not be easy but I am feeling ready for the challenge!”
Although Larsson has arguably a lower current profile than Dennis, he has a long pedigree of riding well against the clock. He is a six time national champion, a 2010 Giro d’Italia time trial stage winner and took the silver medal in both the 2008 Olympic Games and 2009 world time trial championships. He also won the prologue in the 2012 Paris-Nice, leading the race as a result (pictured).
“I was inspired to try for the hour record when I was trying to heal my broken back last year,” he said. “It was one of the goals to get back on the bike and to look forward to through the rehab and winter training.”
“When I heard about the Dowsett and Storey attempts at the Revolution series meet at London I thought it was a super concept! It looked like the perfect venue to do my attempt at the last round and on the historically fast track in Manchester so we contacted the organisers.”
Following a rejigging of UCI rules, a new flurry of attempts began when Jens Voigt attacked and broke the record on September 18 in the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen. He covered 51.110 kilometres on that occasion.
This was subsequently beaten by the Austrian rider Matthias Brandle, who clocked up 51.852 kilometres on October 30 in the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.
Austrialia’s Jack Bobridge tried to go further on January 30 in Melbourne’s DISC velodrome, but appeared to start too quickly and had to settle for 51.3 kilometres. Dennis did a better job of his pacing on February 8 and went almost 600 metres further than Brandle’s mark.
Seventeen days later Dutchman Thomas Dekker tried to raise the bar higher when he made his own bid in Mexico. That ended up just 251 metres short.
The British Revolution series have already had a link to the hour record. Britain’s Alex Dowsett had been due to make is own bid on February 27 in that weekend’s Revolution races but a crash while training in mid-January led to a fractured collarbone and a postponement of that goal.
On February 28 Sarah Storey reanimated the women’s hour record when she tried to break the twelve year old record of Leontiel Van Moorsel. She covered 45.502 kilometres but came up 563 metres off Van Moorsel’s mark.
“We’re pleased to be hosting another UCI Hour Record attempt in the UK and look forward to welcoming Gustav to Manchester,” said Revolution Series Promoter, James Pope.
“The atmosphere and excitement we experienced during Dame Sarah Storey’s attempt was phenomenal so we know the event will make a great addition to the Revolution race programme.”