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Updated: Alex Dowsett misses out on reclaiming UCI Hour record

Israel Start-Up went off strongly, but faded late on in Mexico

UPDATED: Alex Dowsett this evening missed out on reclaiming the UCI Hour record, his ride of 54.555km falling a little more than half a kilometer short of Victor Campenaerts’ record of 55.089km, set on the same Aguascalientes track in Mexico where the Belgian set his record in 2019.


Alex Dowsett will set out at 10pm GMT tonight to attempt to reclaim the UCI Hour record he held briefly in 2015 – here’s where you can watch it, and check back later to see how he got on.

When the Israel Start-Up Nation rider, now aged 33, set the record six years ago – it would be beaten the following month by Sir Bradley Wiggins – he did so at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

This evening’s attempt, however, takes place at 1,887 metres altitude in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where in 2019 the existing record holder, Victor Campenaerts of Belgium, set the distance the Essex-born rider will try and beat – 55.089km.

> Alex Dowsett reveals his hour record bike for Hour record attempt

Viewers in the UK will be able to watch his attempt live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport app from 21:45 GMT and via the Red Button from 21:55 GMT.

It is also being broadcast live by the UCI.

Dowsett had planned to try and regain the record in Manchester last December, but had to postpone his plans after testing positive for COVID-19.

He told BBC Sport: "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. 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,” he added.

A six-time national time trial champion and twice a Giro d’Italia stage winner – the first in an individual time trial in 2013, the second coming following a solo attack last year – Dowsett has forged a successful racing career despite being haemophiliac, and his record attempt this evening also aims to raise awareness and funds for his Little Bleeders charity, which supports children with the same condition.

You can find his Just Giving page here, where he has more than doubled his £15,000 target, with over £34,000 raised to date.

Simon joined 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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PRSboy | 2 years ago

I never cease to be amazed by Hour record attempts.  First, try cycling at 54 kmh for more than a few seconds, then imagine doing it for an hour.  Genuinely astonishing.

Well ahead of his last attempt.  Brilliant effort, Campenaerts has set a very high bar and you only have to look at the list of other attempts to see how good Dowsett's attempt was.

Dowsett is my 'favourite' pro for his down to earth and modest attitude.

McVittees | 2 years ago
1 like

I suspect he would've known before starting that his form to take the record wasn't quite there but probably having arranged the event you couldn't pull out.  Nevertheless it was a fantastic effort and massive props for the time! 

Andski808 | 2 years ago
1 like

Heroic effort. You could see the pain he was in during the hour and he could barely walk when he got off. I have no problem contributing to the charity when someone is prepared to put themselves through that for a cause that benefits not just himself. 

Simon E | 2 years ago

He must be so disappointed.

I watched this and his lap times started fine but started slipping quite early and there was never any sign of a negative split.

But it may demonstrate just how high the bar was set by Victor Campanaerts. I doubt we'll see another sea level attempt for a while.

Alex's series of youtube videos in the run up to this attempt have been fascinating and I have to say that, though I have always found him engaging, honest and open, I warmed to him even more as a result.

lesterama replied to Simon E | 2 years ago

I think Ganna could beat Campanaerts' mark at sea level. Would love to see him try. 

Simon E replied to lesterama | 2 years ago
lesterama wrote:

I think Ganna could beat Campanaerts' mark at sea level. Would love to see him try. 

Perhaps he "could" but doesn't mean he would.

And if he's going to attempt it then why not go as fast as possible? The combination of riding at sea level with high atmospheric pressure on the day would only make it even more difficult.

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