By Ryan Dabbs
Italian riders Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Maria Vittoria Sperotto (A.R. Monex) have set a new, bizarre record, completing the shortest distance possible in one hour of continuous riding.
The pair managed to ride less than a kilometre over the 60 minutes at the Rino Mercante Velodrome in Bassano del Grappa, covering a total of 918 metres in the same time it took Victor Campenaerts to complete 55.089km in 2019 during his Hour Record attempt. The Belgian consequently rode nearly 60 times further than the Italians managed in their alternative Hour Record attempt.
Footage of Formolo and Sperotto's attempt to ride the shortest distance possible displays an ultimate test of balance and perseverance, rather than the speed and endurance required when attempting to ride the longest distance possible.
Reporters can be seen following Formolo and Sperotto extremely slowly around the track as they shuffle from side to side, trying their best to stay upright while still moving at a painfully slow speed forwards.
The Italian riders stole the record from compatriot Bruno Zanoni, who achieved a distance of 1070m in 2019. Zanoni was the Maglia Nera (last placed rider) at the 1979 Giro d'Italia.
The 29-year-old Formolo opted to attempt this test during the off-season before he heads to the UAE to begin preparations with his team for 2022.
This attempt also comes just weeks after Alex Dowsett attempted to break Campenaerts' Hour Record, falling just over 500m short.
.@OutOfCycling @davideformolo numa competição de equilíbrio. Menor distância numa hora. Ele fez 918m. pic.twitter.com/CioElvgqx9November 16, 2021
When not seeing how slow he can go, Formolo is an accomplished road rider, having won a stage at the 2015 Giro d'Italia and becoming Italian national champion in 2019.
He joined the team in 2020 after spending two years with Bora-Hansgrohe, and picked up his first win with the Middle Eastern outfit on the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné that year.
Since joining the team, Formolo has competed in both the victorious 2020 and 2021 Tour de France, the 2020 Vuelta a España and the 2021 Giro d'Italia. He failed to finish both of the Grand Tours he started in 2020 though, but the climber recovered to help his team-mate Tadej Pogačar to the yellow jersey earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Maria Vittoria Sperotto joined her current team A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team this year. Her best result came on stage eight of the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, finishing third.
She has won earlier in her career though, at the 2017 Tour of Guangxi Women's Elite World Challenge, while she was also a stage winner at the 2017 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.
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