Two weeks today, Dame Sarah Storey, Great Britain’s most successful ever Paralympian, will attempt the women's version of the UCI Hour record at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark – and tickets are still available. Among those watching will be Jack Bobridge, who made an unsuccessful attempt on the men's record a fornight ago, who wishes her "the best of luck."
One of track cycling’s most prestigious achievements, the Hour has had a renewed lease of life in recent months following a UCI rule change last year to permit modern track bikes and kit, which resulted in Jens Voigt setting a new record back in September.
But while four men have attempted it in the past six months – the current holder, Rohan Dennis, rode 52.491km to break Matthias Brändle’s record just last week – Storey will be the first woman to undertake the gruelling effort in more than a decade as she chases the 46.065km set by Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel of the Netherlands in 2003.
Of the male riders who have ridden the Hour in recent months, only Bobridge, at the end of January, failed to better the previous distance.
He has words of encouragement for Storey, the swimmer turned cyclist who has 11 Paralympic gold medals to her name across both sports, two of those coming in 2012 on the same track where she will ride in a fortnight’s time.
The South Australian, who in January won a stage of the Tour Down Under and finished the race as winner of the mountains classification, is a former world champion in the team and individual pursuits.
He’s also the current world record holder in the latter event – and will be riding at the fifth round of the Revolution Series where Storey’s attempt takes place.
He said: “It’s one of the hardest challenges that a cyclist can take on, and the most surreal strain you’ll ever put your body through in the saddle.
“The challenge doesn’t really sink in until after the first 20 minutes, which is when it really hits you, but I’m sure Sarah will have trained for this.
“Sarah’s one of the world’s top riders and I wish her the best of luck for a great ride."
Bobridge will be one of a host of stars competing at the event, which spans Friday evening and two sessions on the Saturday – Storey’s record attempt takes place in the afternoon – and comes just a week after the UCI Track World Championships in Paris.
Others include Laura Trott, Ed Clancy and Peter Kennaugh, all of whom won gold for Team GB on the same track at London 2012, plus international stars including Bobridge’s compatriot Glenn O’Shea, and Madison world champion David Muntaner of Spain.
Tickets can be bought through the Revolution Series website, where full details of the programme are also available, or by calling See Tickets on 0844 854 2016.
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.