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Mendrisio performance gives Spartacus impetus to follow Boardman and Merckx on the track

Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara has reportedly set his sights on the UCI hour record following his imperious display in winning the World Time Trial Championship in Mendrisio in September.

Cancellara won the rainbow jersey with ease, taking time to celebrate his win in the home straight as he finished one minute 27 seconds ahead of the Swede, Gustav Larsson. The Swiss rider put in an average speed of 51.58 kilometres an hour as he took the title.

According to an interview in the latest edition of the Italian magazine Bicisport, the Saxo Bank rider, nicknamed Spartacus, said that he is considering tackling the hour record on the track at some point.

The rider added that although he believed his showing in Mendriso demonstrated that he was able to tackle the hour record, measured by the longest distance a rider can cover on a velodrome track inside 60 minutes. He acknowledged, however, that raw power alone wouldn’t be enough and that he needed to learn how to apply that to the track.

Since 2000, UCI regulations have required that riders attempting the hour record do so sing equipment similar to that used by Eddy Merckx when the Belgian set the benchmark of 49.431 kilometres in 1974.

That decision, which banned aero wheels, frames and helmets, was taken to remove the effects of technological progress, which had seen the hour distance pushed out to more than 56 kilometres by Britain’s Chris Boardman on his Mike Burrows-designed Lotus bike.

It was Boardman himself who first beat Merck’s benchmark in 2000, riding 49.441 kilometres with the build-up to the attempt and the record-breaking ride captured on film for the ITV film The Final Hour. Boardman’s distance was beaten in 2005 by
Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka, who rode 49.7 kilometres in Moscow in July 2005.

According to the daily sports newspaper Tuttosport, Cancellara has been approached to attempt the hour record at a new velodrome in Montichiari near Brescia. Belgium’s Freddy Bracke was the last man to win the hour record in Italy, doing so at the Olympic Velodrome in Rome back in 1967.

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.