Rohan Dennis is the new holder of the UCI Hour Record, riding 52.491 kilometres this afternoon at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen to smash the mark of 51.852km set by Austria’s Matthias Brändle last September with around a minute to spare.
The venue chosen by the 24-year-old was the one where Jens Voigt last September became the first rider to beat the record since the UCI changed the rules earlier in the year to permit up to date track bikes and equipment.
Among those watching was Swiss resident Cadel Evans, who brought the curtain down on his career last weekend and today was performing his first official duties in his new role as BMC Global Ambassador.
Also there were the Swiss bike brand and team owner Andy Rihs, plus team manager Jim Ochowicz as well as French mountain bike legend Julien Absalon, who is sponsored by BMC.
Last week, Dennis’s fellow South Australian Jack Bobridge missed out on the record, paying the price for going out far too quickly and fading early on in the second half of his ride, costing him distance he was unable to claw back later on.
Dennis had a schedule – he had said that he was aiming for 52.5 kilometres, but would try and get as far as 53 kilometres – and he stuck to it consistently up until the last few minutes when his average speed started to drop a little from the 52.7kph he had lapped in the opening 50 or so minutes.
By then, however, he had a whopping 50 seconds’ advantage over Brändle and with the crowd now on its feet getting behind him, including with chants of “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” he wrote his name into track cycling history.
The Australian, winner of the Santos Tour Down Under just a fortnight ago, said afterwards he was "in lots of pain, pretty tired but very proud," and that he hopes the record "will stay for a while."
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.