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by Shane Stokes
June 9, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
Former world hour record holder Graeme Obree has given his thumbs up to Bradley Wiggins’ new UCI hour record, describing the ride to extend the distance covered in the timeframe as “an amazing performance.”
However, although Wiggins went 1.589 kilometres further than the previous record which was set by Alex Dowsett on May 2, Obree believes that the younger Briton has a chance to come back and to try again.
He’s obviously got to go a considerable distance further than he did a month ago, but the Scot believes that he can step things up. Whether than will be enough or not will be seen if he tries.
“I think Alex Dowsett has been underestimated,” Obree told CyclingTips on Monday. “I saw a comment saying that Alex Dowsett had set an interim time or something, like it [his previous effort] wasn’t his best the hour record. If I was Alex Dowsett, I would think, ‘okay, I will come back and show you.’
“Obviously he had so much more in the tank than was put out there. So he is probably capable of 54 and a half on a good day if everything is perfect. Also, the velodrome in London is probably better with the humidity control and temperature climb.”
Wiggins did his effort in that track in London, while Dowsett went in Manchester. That May 2 event was seen as somewhat conservative, with the Movistar rider deliberate starting slightly slowly and then accelerating as the effort progressed.
This tactic saw him beat the previous mark of Rohan Dennis, but many believe that he could have gone faster had he been a little more aggressive.
“Obviously you don’t know what you are quite capable of,” said Obree, explaining what might have been the thinking behind that. “You are starting off tentatively, seeing that other people have died off during their efforts. In finishing as quick as that, obviously you think ‘well, he has got more in the tank.’
“And he does hold the national ten record, which is quicker than what Wiggins did there.”
Mentioning road times is an interesting point. In the run-up to Sunday’s ride Wiggins tried to beat Dowsett’s road mark of 17 minutes 20 seconds but was unable to do so. While Obree points out that the weather was not ideal on the day in question, he does believe that looking at road times can give Dowsett some degree of encouragement.
“There is hardly the equivalent of a kilometre and a half between what Wiggo could do in a ten and what Alex Dowsett could do in a ten,” he said, referring to the time difference. “So I think, ‘hold on, the best record is for the taking.’”
Although Wiggins said on Sunday that he will not take on the record again, Obree notes that the air pressure wasn’t ideal during his ride and that this suggests that he too can go faster. He believes this warrants another ride, but doesn’t believe it should be done prior to the current record being broken.
“I think he should wait until Dowsett or somebody has taken it on and possibly beaten it,” he said. “There is no point in going again to improve your own figures. The best thing to is to actually wait until you have got a target. If somebody else breaks it, you are attacking to get it back. Then that is something of interest.”