Bridie O’Donnell set a new UCI world hour record of 46.882 kilometres on Friday night in front of a crowd of thousands at Adelaide’s Super-Drome. The weather was a warm 29°C and the pressure favourably low for the attempt, which took place in a city swarming with cyclists in the midst of the Santos Tour Down Under. The 41-year-old O’Donnell was calm, confident and composed as many of the top names of the cycling world looked on. She focused her attention on a carefully laid out pacing strategy which the Australian rider was convinced was the key to success in the final hour of her year-long effort to deliver a new world record. It was. The physician not only beat the record, as she delivered lap after lap of consistent times, but added an impressive 609 metres to the mark of 46.273 kilometres set by American law professor Molly Shaffer van Houweling at high altitude in Mexico just four months ago.
We had photographer Tim Bardsley-Smith there on the night to capture the images that bring to life the story of this impressive feat.