Fabian Cancellara, four times world time trial champion, is to attempt the Hour record – with Manchester’s velodrome a possible venue.
Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport says that the 32-year-old Swiss rider will discuss the possible record attempt with Trek Factory Racing team manager Luca Guercilena when the team’s 2014 line-up is presented next Tuesday.
Guercilena told the newspaper: "Above all, with Trek engineers, we will focus on materials, then we will pick the right time for the attempt.
"The ideal would be to do it straight after [Cancellara] peaks in form – he’d need three weeks of adaptation specific to the track."
Manchester is reportedly one of the tracks being considered, together with Anadia in Portugal and Aguascalientes in Mexico, all three having a reputation for fast speeds.
Another issue to be resolved is when any attempt on the record might be made – Cancellara has already made the Spring Classics, where he will be defending his titles at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, his main early season target.
Guercilena said that the attempt might be made either after the Spring Classics or following the first of the two Grand Tours Cancellara is aiming to ride next season.
The Gazzetta dello Sport says it’s unclear at the moment whether he will ride the Giro and Vuelta, or the Tour de France and the Vuelta, although it adds the latter seems more likely.
The current holder of the Hour record ratified by world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, is 49.7km, set by Ondřej Sosenka of the Czech Republic, set in Moscow in 2005.
His record distance was set a decade or so after the Hour captured the imagination of cycling fans in the UK and elsewhere as Chris Boardman, Graeme Obreee, Francesco Moser, Miguel Indurain and Tony Romiger all vied in the mid-1990s to set the farthest distance in 60 minutes.
In 1996, Boardman set a distance of 56.375km using the “Superman” position pioneered by Obree, but the same year saw the UCI change the rules due to advances in equipment and riding styles, including aerodynamics, and making a distinction between the Best Human Record and the UCI Hour Record.
Eddy Merckx’s benchmark distance of 49.431km set in 1972 was reinstated as the official UCI Hour Record and was eventually bettered by Boardman at Manchester in 2000.
The British rider, using a traditional track bike, set a distance of 49.441km – just 10 metres better than Merckx – in a ride famously captured in the documentary, The Final Hour.
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.