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by Shane Stokes
June 9, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
With Bradley Wiggins adding a full 1.589 kilometres to the previous UCI hour record of Alex Dowsett on Sunday, some are predicting that the mark could stand for a long time. Wiggins himself has called on others to take on the new record, saying that it is better for the credibility of the test if some try to beat it.
While the Briton states that a lower air pressure would have enabled him to have gone further than 54.526 kilometres on Sunday, he knows that it will still be a tall order for others to improve upon his mark. He also knows that if riders such as Fabian Cancellara or Tony Martin take on the distance and are unable to beat it, it will help enhance his own reputation.
“For the record it would be nice now if someone does attack it in the next year or so,” Wiggins told journalists after setting the new mark.
“Even if they fail it will be good for the record, it will give kudos to this record.”
The big question, though, is will they try? CyclingTips contacted the teams of Cancellara and Dowsett, namely Trek Factory Racing and Movistar, and was told that in each case, there were currently no plans in place to attack the record.
Cancellara had previously said that the target lost a little lustre for him when the UCI relaxed the rules previously limiting bikes and equipment to a similar standard as used by Eddy Merckx in 1972.
He said in January that the move to newer technology meant that he could no longer compare himself directly to riders such as Merckx and, as a result, that he was lukewarm at that point in time about aiming for the hour.
“I feel a bit sad about the past because I still look at the past [records]. Somewhere in this hour record there is a past and suddenly it just gets cancelled,” he said, referring to those previous attempts which have now been swamped by riders using newer, faster machines.
“I think when Bradley Wiggins is doing it, it will stay for a long, long time because he is a master on the track, he won the worlds. So when you make one and one, I think it is really hard.”
Months later, and hours after Wiggins’ attempt, CyclingTips asked his team if things had changed and if an attempt was pencilled in. A spokesman answered Monday that no plans were currently in place.
As for Dowsett, the British rider who broke Rohan Dennis’ previous hour record when he covered 52.937 kilometres on May 2 in Manchester, Wiggins’ post-hour comments to journalists redflagged him as perhaps the biggest threat.
“Personally I’d love to see Fabian and Tony have a go at it [but] they don’t have the track pedigree to be confident enough,” he said. “I wouldn’t discount Alex. I think he’ll have a look at that and consider his options. Like me he’ll go away and do his homework and, if he thinks it’s possible, he’ll have a go.
“To be honest, the age he is, 26, he’s probably got another eight years.”
However it seems there is no sign of a repeat bid anytime soon.
“The team and Alex are both now more focused on other important goals coming up this summer,” said a spokesman to CyclingTips, confirming nothing was in place at this point in time.