Ondřej Sosenka, a Czech professional cyclist, held the UCI hour record for nine years with a distance of 49.700km. That record was broken by German cyclist Jens Voigt just a couple of weeks ago (51.115km), a feat which has sparked a renewed interest in the hour record with Sir Bradley Wiggins aiming to have a shot at the record next year.
Sosenka, now aged 38, aims to come out of retirement to attempt the hour record next spring, and Czech bicycle company Festka will build him a suitable bike. But will the UCI have any issues with his past doping offences, which includes testing positive for the banned stimulant methamphetamine in 2008 which ended his career.
Speaking in May, UCI president Brian Cookson said that any rider attempting the Hour Record will have to be part of the Biological Passport programme. For Sosenka, not having competed for six years, that means he isn’t on the programme and presumably he would have to be tested with the aim to build up a suitable biological passport profile before he can make the attempt. We’ll drop the UCI a line to try and gain some clarification on this matter.
Festka are a Czech company that build custom frames in a range of materials, and they have announced they'll build a suitable bike. Perhaps not the most familar bicycle brand in the UK, but you will have seen them if you went to the Bespoked handbuilt show in London earlier this year. They build some properly attention grabbing bikes, but they do some very nice conservative builds if you have more restrained tastes.
The company haven’t released any details of the bike they’ll build for Ondřej Sosenka’s hour record attempt next year yet. The UCI relaxed their rules on all bikes resembling the one Merckx used for his 1972 record, allowing bikes that are very similar to the common track pursuit bikes to be used for any future attempts. This relaxation of the rules has prompted renewed interest in the record, and led to Jens Voigt bowing out of his 17-year career by breaking Sosenka's record that stood for nine years.
When Sosenka set the previous hour record he did it on a very traditional looking fixed wheel track bike with drop bars and box section tubular rims. The most notable thing about his bike is the huge amount of seatpost extension, yes he’s a tall chap at 200cm height. He also uses lengthy 190mm cranks. Reportedly his bike weighed 9.8kg, which is heavy by today’s standards.
So expect Festka to make a bike not dissimilar to the Trek Speed Concept that Jens Voigt rode, with an frame featuring aerodynamically profiled main tubes, most likely a similar twin disc wheel setup and time trial bars. We look forward to seeing the bike they produce, we're sure it'll have an electric paint job. But will Sosenka be clear to ride it an anger. I guess we'll soon find out.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.