Young Australian talent Jack Bobridge today set the fastest ever 4,000 metre individual pursuit time under current UCI rules, shattering by what in this event is a huge margin of six tenths of a second the record set by Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas in Manchester last October.
Bobridge’s time of 4 minutes 15.764 seconds is the second fastest in history, bettered only by Chris Boardman, who during the 1996 World Championships, also in Manchester, set a time of 4 minutes 13.353 seconds on his Mike Burrows-designed Lotus bike while riding in his famous “Superman” position, both of which were subsequently banned.
The Australian, who joined Garmin-Transitions last month and who won the World Under-23 Time Trial Championship in Mendrisio last September, set his time in a qualifying round during the Australian National Track Championships, where he was defending champion, and which he went on to win in a comparatively more sedate 4 minutes 16.313 seconds.
At 20 years of age, Bobridge is a little under a year older than Individual Pursuit World Champion, the American Taylor Phinney, while Thomas is a comparative veteran at 23, demonstrating the wealth of young talent in the event and suggesting that there could be an epic battle for the rainbow jersey at next month’s UCI World Track Championships in Copenhagen.
That emerging talent makes it all the more disappointing that the event will be absent from the London Olympics in 2012 following the revamp of the track programme late last year.
That decision attracted strong criticism from riders such as Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, who as a result will be denied the chance of riding in his home city for a hat trick of gold medals in the event he won at Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years later.
After successfully defending his national title, Bobridge said: "This year at the Tour Down Under, I held myself back a lot and came out here a lot fresher as I have shown that with my times I have produced here."
Ominously for other pretenders to the world crown, he added: "Honestly I don't think I am 100% fit yet, still a little bit off, which is a good feeling for myself knowing I have 6-7 weeks until the World Championships in Copenhagen.”
Bobridge continued: "Considering I have only done three sessions on the track leading into these Championships, I have come out today and surprised myself. It has been perfect conditions for track cycling, so that's why you have seen so many fast times delivered here."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.