Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Bradley Wiggins says Chris Boardman's Best Human Effort Hour cycling record could be in reach

Four-time Olympic champ confident of beating Alex Dowsett's UCI Hour Record in London on Sunday...

Sir Bradley Wiggins is aiming to smash the UCI Hour Record in London on Sunday evening, targeting a distance of 55.250km that would beat the existing record by more than 2km – and could also have Chris Boardman’s Best Human Effort in his sights.

Following last year’s rule change, the record currently stands at 52.937km, set by Alex Dowsett in Manchester last month.

That’s almost 3.5km shorter than the 56.375km Boardman rode in 1996 on his famous Mike Burrows-designed Lotus bike and using a ‘Superman’ position, both of which were subsequently banned by the UCI.

Wiggins is confident he will comfortably beat Dowsett’s record, and told Sky Sports News that he may even look to surpass Boardman’s distance this weekend.

Despite the disadvantage he would have compared to the aerodynamic bike and riding position Boardman was able to employ, he said he could beat it “If the conditions are right on the day.

“They would have to be really right. A lot of the hour record is dictated by temperature and air pressure. Air pressure is everything.

“I’m not a weather man, but if you have really low pressure, under 1,000 [grams per cubic metre], you will travel a lot further on the day – anything up to 1km for the same power.

“The weather forecast for the first week in June is abnormally low pressure for London for that time of year, which is fantastic. That has dictated everything. You could go a kilometre either way depending on air pressure.

“If the conditions are right, it’s possible. The goal is to break the record first and foremost. I wouldn’t underestimate the record that Alex has done.”

The 2012 Tour de France winner and world and Olympic time trial champion will have to ride 221 laps of the velodrome at the Lea Valley VeloPark to beat Dowsett’s distance, and is strongly focused on maintaining a steady lap time throughout to achieve that.

“Pace judgement is everything in the hour record,” said Wiggins, winner of three Olympic gold medals on the track.
“If you can ride 16.1 or 16.2-second laps constantly for 221 laps, and not go 15.9 seconds or 16.4 seconds, it’s keeping it on the line every lap, lap after lap.

“The most efficient way is to keep the power, and that in itself is a skill,” said Wiggins, who noted that a graph of Dowsett’s ride showed steady progression as he went faster during the 60 minutes, while other to attempt the record such as Thomas “were all over the shop.”

Wiggins added: “It’s like sitting on the motorway in the fast lane revving it in third gear, braking really hard, revving it. It’s just a case of putting it in cruise control at 70mph and sitting. It’s the most efficient way for a record like this.

“And when you get something like that, that’s perfection. It’s a skill in itself. How does Ronnie O’Sullivan play snooker the way he does? You can’t explain it.”

In 1997, the year after Boardman set that distance of 56.375km, the governing body rewrote the rules for the UCI Hour Record, stipulating that it must be undertaken using a bike and equipment similar to those used by Eddy Merckx in 1972 of 49.431km.

Boardman beat that by 10 metres in Manchester in 2000, with his own record broken by Ondřej Sosenka five years later, the Czech riding 49.700 km.

Attempts on the record fell out of favour until the UCI changed the rules last year to permit up-to-date track bikes and equipment, with Jens Voigt last September riding 51.110km to beat Sosenka’s record.

Since then, Austrian rider Matthias Brandle and Rohan Dennis from Australia have both pushed it further, before Dowsett, beat it at the start of May.

Sky Sports 2HD will be showing Wiggins’ attempt on the record in a programme running from 6pm to 8pm on Sunday evening, with the ride itself starting at 6.30pm.

You can also watch it – for free – on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Latest Comments