Alex Dowsett has confirmed that he will attempt to break Victor Campenaerts’ UCI Hour Record next month, with the Israel Start-Up Nation rider taking to the same track at Aguascalientes in Mexico on 3 November where the Belgian set the current benchmark of 55.089 kilometres in April 2019.
The British rider previously held the record for five weeks after riding 52.937 kilometres at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester in early May 2015, only for it to be beaten by Sir Bradley Wiggins at London’s Lea Valley VeloPark the following month.
The 33-year-old had planned to try and regain the record in Manchester last December, but had to shelve his plans after testing positive for COVID-19.
In a statement released via the UCI today, Dowsett said: “When I took the record in 2015, we rode enough to break the record but I knew I had more in the tank at the end which was frustrating given the work put in by everyone.
“Last year’s attempt was derailed when I contracted Covid-19 but the same reasons for wanting to do it are all still there. I want to see what I’m capable of and it’s an event I just really love and feel privileged to have the opportunity to take on again.
“In terms of difficulty I know the bar has been set extremely high by Victor,” he continued.
“It’s going to be a very big ask but I think I’m capable. The biggest hurdle this time with it being in Mexico will be the altitude. Being at altitude the power output required will be lower than at sea level because of the thin air, but it’s not all plain sailing as the thin air also brings a tougher environment for breathing.
“We think in the end it should be more beneficial than detrimental to be at altitude,” added Dowsett, who is following a specific training schedule ahead of his record attempt, including fine-tuning his bike set-up and aerodynamic skinsuit through testing in a wind tunnel.
The UCI has confirmed that his record attempt will be streamed live.
Since the UCI revised the rules back in 2014 to allow contemporary track bikes and equipment to be used, there have been 11 attempts made on the men’s record, the following six being successful:
18.09.2014: Jens Voigt (GER), Grenchen (SUI), 51.110 km
30.10.2014: Matthias Brändle (AUT), Aigle (SUI), 51.852 km
08.02.2015: Rohan Dennis (AUS), Grenchen (SUI), 52.491 km
02.05.2015: Alex Dowsett (GBR), Manchester (GBR), 52.937 km
07.06.2015: Bradley Wiggins (GBR), London (GBR), 54.526 km
16.04.2019: Victor Campenaerts (BEL), Aguascalientes (MEX), 55.089 km
Besides Dowsett’s forthcoming tilt at the record, two riders are likely to make an attempt on it in 2022 – the Italian world time trial champion Filippo Ganna, and Great Britain’s Dan Bigham, who earlier this month rode 54.723 kilometres to break Wiggins’ British record.
Bigham’s ride, at Grenchen in Switzerland, came two days after his partner Joss Lowden had ridden 48.405 kilometres on the same track to beat Italian rider Vittoria Bussi’s Women’s UCI Hour record of 48.005 kilometres.
Dowsett shared his thoughts on a potential attempt to recapture the record when we spoke to him as part of our Drink At Your Desk Live! feature back in April. You can watch the full video of our chat below.
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.