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Victor Campenaerts rides more than 55km to smash Sir Bradley Wiggins' UCI Hour record

Belgian undertook his record breaking ride at velodrome in Aguascalientes, Mexico

Victor Campenaerts has set a new UCI Hour record in Aguascalientes, Mexico today, his distance of 55.089 kilometres surpassing by more than two laps the 54.526 kilometres ridden by Sir Bradley Wiggins in London almost four years ago.

The Lotto-Soudal rider, benefiting from undertaking his effort at altitude, - Aguascalientes lies 1,890 metres above sea level - never looked in trouble as he quickly built up speed early on before settling into a consistent pace of around 55 kilometres an hour.

Campenaerts said: “I am super happy, I am part of the greatest riders of the Hour record. I thought about it for a long time. I am happy I broke the magic mark of 55 kilometres.

“It was super hard, I was a bit optimistic in the first 30 minutes and then I said myself I had to slow down a bit the pace, but even with that I think I was faster that Wiggins in all parts. The team gave me all the confidence I needed and I was able to answer them the right way.”

UCI president David Lapppartient said: “We’ve seen a superb performance. Well done to Victor, who had an amazing ride and showed his consistency from the start right through to the end of his attempt, a key factor in his success.

“Congratulations also to his team, Lotto Soudal, and to Golazo, who gave Victor the support he needed and created a quality event around him, not least in live-streaming it for fans to enjoy.

“This latest feat is excellent news for our legendary event, which has attracted renewed interest among both male and female riders since we changed our rules.

Campenaerts undertook his successful effort on a Ridley track bike custom made for the attempt and named “The Flying Moustache” by the Belgian public following a poll by broadcaster Sporza (Fietsy Van Fietsface wasn’t an option, we’re guessing).

The brand is owned by Belgian Cycling Factory, whose CEO Joachim Aerts said: "Without a doubt the biggest performance ever on a Ridley.

"I can't describe how proud I am Ridley helped Victor setting this record. What an athlete!”

Since the UCI changed the rules for the Hour record in 2014, there have been 19 attempts on the men's, only six of those successful, including today's.

The first attempt under the new rules was made by Jens Voigt in what would be his final competitive ride before retirement, the popular German setting a distance of 51.110 kilometres at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen in September 2014.

The following month, the Austrian rider Matthias Brandle rode 51.852 kilometres at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, holding the record until Australia’s Rohan Dennis surpassed it in February 2015 by riding 52.491 kilometres at the Velodrome Suisse.

The following two successful attempts both took place in Great Britain – Alex Dowsett setting a distance of 52.937 kilometres in Manchester in May 2015, smashed just five weeks later by Wiggins with his 54.526 kilometre ride at Lee Valley VeloPark.

Today’s attempt was the 11th since then, with the Danish 19-year-old Mikkel Bjerg riding 53.730 kilometres in Odense last October, setting a new national record.

Simon joined road.cc 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.

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15 comments

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dave atkinson | 4 years ago
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here's a fun tool you can bung a lot of data in:

https://www.gribble.org/cycling/power_v_speed.html

i doubt it's perfect, but you can get an idea of what changes air density can make to the power required to sustain 55km/h

VC's CdA number was probably around 0.2, wikipedia says he's 72kg

 

 

having been to the wind tunnel recently, the air in there is very tightly controlled. air pressure is a variable, though. they have to input the number into the calculation for every run. it'd be the same in a velodrome, unless it was hermetically sealed

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peted76 | 5 years ago
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Well done, despite the awful narrator I found myself glued to the last ten mins of the attempt, chapeau to V.C!

I wonder how all this TT practice will translate to the road when he gets back to it.. he was right up there with the best TT'ers before all this, now surely he must be the hot fav for TT's.. maybe the a new breakaway specialist (who's gonna catch him)?

I wonder if he fancies a crack at the UK's fast 25 course down Rhigos way..that'd be awesome  1

 

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Simon E | 5 years ago
0 likes

Mybike wrote:

I don't think the altitude would make a difference. The air in the building is controlled at a certain pressure I think all tracks have controlled air but still that' a very hard bike ride and a very nice bike good job to him

Altitude definitely makes a difference. Why else would he and others go to Mexico in the first place? Michael Hutchinson tweeted: "What would he have done at sea-level? Very hard to know. The general estimate is that the 1800m of Aguascalientes produces a net gain of a bit over a km, depending on acclimatisation. Takes nothing away from a great effort. "

I caught the last 10 minutes after work and he still looked really good, well up on Wiggins' pace throughout and even pushing the pace a fraction n the last few laps, which must be really, really tough at that point after riding for 55mins at 55 km/h. Hugely impressive.

Anyone dismissing the fact that he added over 0.5 km to Wiggins' time is either a miserable git or simply clueless.

Tweets by Hutch and recent record holder Alex Dowsett give a far better indication of the significance of Campenaerts' performance than any of us on here.

Dowsett: "We’re witnessing a perfectly paced hour record attempt folks"

Hutch: "That was a really, really good record ride. Clearly he was on the edge for much of the ride, but critically, never quite over it. Just balanced on that edge of what he could do and what he couldn't. Perfect."

And Wiggins tweeted: "Chapeau Victor my man"

Brad's tweet has received over 6,200 likes which I'd say demonstrates that people do care about seemingly 'boring' Hour record attempts.

I wonder if John Archibald will still have a go. I hope he does.

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Global Nomad | 5 years ago
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its about going the furthest in an hour. simple. doing it at altitude is another marginal gain amongst all the others that these riders eeek out to achive that simple goal. Well done for breaking the record, bring on the challengers.

 

PS as a relativlet new building of its type the london velodrome has an incredibly sophisticated system to control the air movement, humidity, temperature and so on at track level, much more so than the one in mexico

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Mybike | 5 years ago
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I don't think the altitude would make a difference. The air in the building is controlled at a certain pressure I think all tracks have controlled air but still that' a very hard bike ride and a very nice bike good job to him

Avatar
dave atkinson replied to Mybike | 5 years ago
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Mybike wrote:

I don't think the altitude would make a difference. The air in the building is controlled at a certain pressure I think all tracks have controlled air but still that' a very hard bike ride and a very nice bike good job to him

there's literally less air at altitude, so less stuff to push out of the way. it does make a difference. not a lot of point moaning about wiggins or anyone else not taking advantage though, that's entirely their choice.

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Sriracha replied to Mybike | 5 years ago
2 likes
Mybike wrote:

I don't think the altitude would make a difference. The air in the building is controlled at a certain pressure I think all tracks have controlled air but still that' a very hard bike ride and a very nice bike good job to him

At 1890m you lose about 3psi compared to sea level. Air pressure management in a building is of the order of thousandths of one psi. I'm sure they control temperature and humidity, but air pressure will be the prevailing atmospheric pressure.

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madcarew replied to Sriracha | 5 years ago
0 likes

Sriracha wrote:
Mybike wrote:

I don't think the altitude would make a difference. The air in the building is controlled at a certain pressure I think all tracks have controlled air but still that' a very hard bike ride and a very nice bike good job to him

At 1890m you lose about 3psi compared to sea level. Air pressure management in a building is of the order of thousandths of one psi. I'm sure they control temperature and humidity, but air pressure will be the prevailing atmospheric pressure.

The whole wind resistance thing is about air density, rather than pressure, but by sealing the building (largely) and increasing the temperature, you get lower air density (I think my stoichiometry is right), especially with dehumidifcation. The thing about atmospheric air pressure is it represents how many particles of gas are in a given volume, and as it goes down so does the amount of oxygen available to use, which is where the talk of air pressure comes in. Very importantly, different athletes react differently to altitude. It is quite possible that Wiggo doesn't adapt so well to altitude and was better finding a fast track at sea level, than trying to do it at altitude. BTBS of course had taken this into his consideration.....

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Jackson replied to madcarew | 5 years ago
1 like

madcarew wrote:

Sriracha wrote:
Mybike wrote:

I don't think the altitude would make a difference. The air in the building is controlled at a certain pressure I think all tracks have controlled air but still that' a very hard bike ride and a very nice bike good job to him

At 1890m you lose about 3psi compared to sea level. Air pressure management in a building is of the order of thousandths of one psi. I'm sure they control temperature and humidity, but air pressure will be the prevailing atmospheric pressure.

The whole wind resistance thing is about air density, rather than pressure, but by sealing the building (largely) and increasing the temperature, you get lower air density (I think my stoichiometry is right), especially with dehumidifcation. The thing about atmospheric air pressure is it represents how many particles of gas are in a given volume, and as it goes down so does the amount of oxygen available to use, which is where the talk of air pressure comes in. Very importantly, different athletes react differently to altitude. It is quite possible that Wiggo doesn't adapt so well to altitude and was better finding a fast track at sea level, than trying to do it at altitude. BTBS of course had taken this into his consideration.....

If you genuinely sealed the building and increased the temperature you would increase the pressure but not the density (think about if you sealed in a 1m3 container of air at STP: you have about 1.23kg/m3 of air in there no matter what you do with temp for a fixed volume). 

In practice the building is not sealed and hence raising the temperature for a fixed atmospheric pressure lowers the air density as the particles move further apart. 

Your main point still stands though, lower density air is easier to cycle through but a lower partial pressure of oxygen makes it harder to cycle hard, hence why it is such an interesting puzzle for the rider to try to optimise.

As for BTBS, good luck with getting the UCI 'CdA and turbo trainer FTP test' record underway. 

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srchar replied to madcarew | 4 years ago
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madcarew wrote:

by sealing the building (largely) and increasing the temperature, you get lower air density

Even if you could seal the building (which would be incredibly difficult), all that raising the temperature will do is increase the pressure (the average kinetic energy of the molecules of air).  Given how big a bike + rider is, that's a zero sum game.

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Welsh boy | 5 years ago
7 likes

I’m sure that VC isn’t going to be too bothered that behindthebikesheds doesn't seem impressed by his new record.  A big well done from me, you set a new record within the rules which were (to the best of my knowledge) the same as when Wiggins chose to ride at sea level. 

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jasecd replied to Welsh boy | 5 years ago
2 likes

Welsh boy wrote:

I’m sure that VC isn’t going to be too bothered that behindthebikesheds doesn't seem impressed by his new record.  A big well done from me, you set a new record within the rules which were (to the best of my knowledge) the same as when Wiggins chose to ride at sea level. 

 

Regular readers of this site will know that behindthebikesheds isn't impressed at very much...

Well done VC.

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handlebarcam | 5 years ago
3 likes

Chapeau Mr. Campenaerts. Just because Wiggo couldn't be arsed to go to Mexico, or wanted the publicity of doing it in his home town, doesn't mean everyone must ride at sea level from now. But he may regret it come July, when the Lotto-Soudal team manager gets on the radio and tells him to ride on the front for the next 55 kilometres to drag their sprint team back to a breakaway.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
3 likes

Smashes? Considering the altitude differential it's not exactly smashing anything is it, Wiggins was 33 and despite been a bit leggy and not giving it everything (I've talked previously about why I think this) he beat the previous record by 2km.

In any case Rominger did 55.291 on tri bars (not banned by UCI) But well done to VC, you beat some sort of record but it wasb't the absolute record, it wasn't the record for any position deemed legit by the UCI (conveniently forgotton about), it's also not the sea level record either but well done all the same.

There's just no kudos to it going to altitude for me. 

 

Avatar
Rapha Nadal replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
1 like

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Smashes? Considering the altitude differential it's not exactly smashing anything is it, Wiggins was 33 and despite been a bit leggy and not giving it everything (I've talked previously about why I think this) he beat the previous record by 2km.

In any case Rominger did 55.291 on tri bars (not banned by UCI) But well done to VC, you beat some sort of record but it wasb't the absolute record, it wasn't the record for any position deemed legit by the UCI (conveniently forgotton about), it's also not the sea level record either but well done all the same.

There's just no kudos to it going to altitude for me. 

 

I'll look forward to seeing you step up to the plate and having a go.

Chapeau to V.C!

 

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