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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.

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.