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British legend returns to his native Flanders to present Belgian rider with Crystal Bike award

 

Sir Bradley Wiggins says he hopes that Lotto-Soudal rider Victor Campenaerts will be the man who breaks his UCI Hour record.

The Briton tipped the 27-year-old to break the record when he presented Campenaerts, winner of the European time trial championship and third at the world championships, with the Crystal Bike award for best Belgian rider of the year last night.

Five-time Olympic champion and 2012 Tour de France winner Wiggins had been kept hidden from the audience at Knokke Casino in West Flanders until the moment he stepped onto the stage to give Campenaerts the award.

Wiggins – born in Ghent, where his Australian father Gary was based while racing on the six-day circuit – delighted the audience by announcing the name of the winner in Flemish, any inhibitions removed by his admission that he may have had a glass of wine or two beforehand.

“I wish you all the best for the Hour record,” Wiggins told Campenaerts. “I think it needs to be broken, it’s three years now, and the new generation, I think it will be so healthy for the sport that the record doesn’t last for 20 years.

“Good luck to you, I know that you are putting lots into it, and I really do hope you do it and I think it will be fantastic for the sport.

“But the great thing about the Hour record is once you’ve done it, your name is there and then pass it on to the next generation.

“So I think this man has all the attributes to go and break the record.”

The current record, which Wiggins set at Lee Valley VeloPark in June 2015, stands at 54.526 kilometres.

Campenaerts, who plans to have a tilt at the record during a suitable break from riding on the road with Lotto-Soudal next year, rode an average speed of 54.8 kilometres an hour during a 30-minute test session at the velodrome in Grenchen, Switzerland in September.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.