Ellen van Dijk has set the new women's Hour Record, achieving a distance of 49.254km at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland.
The world time trial champion started the challenge knowing she needed to break Joss Lowden's record of 48.405km set at the same velodrome in September 2021, and a strong getaway from the standing start provided her with the perfect foundation to build upon.
Lap times of 18.5 seconds would have sufficed for Van Dijk around the velodrome to break the record, which would have given her a speed of over 48.5kmh. However, the Dutchwoman maintained a consistent pace of more than 49kmh for the majority of the event, as every single lap proved quicker than the average speed she needed to break Lowden's record.
Using an unnatural, but more efficient head position, she powered around the black line of the velodrome, staring at the floor in order to maintain optimal aerodynamics. The 35-year-old completed 197 laps of the velodrome in a stunning effort, setting a new world record in the process.
The @UCI_cycling world time trial champion @ellenvdijk has taken the #ucihourrecord >49km for the first time with a commanding performance of 49.254km vs. the previous distance of 48.405km.Slight positive split but every lap after the first >48.5kph.#EllensHour @UCI_Track pic.twitter.com/rFLBk0gDDUMay 23, 2022
The Dutchwoman reached a top speed of 50.3kmh during the event, but soon dialled that back in as she quickly realised it wasn't a sustainable speed. Apart from the first lap, where she began from the traditional standing start, every lap Van Dijk completed was ridden quicker than the average speed Lowden set during her record.
Despite her pace dropping off slightly heading into the final 20 minutes, Van Dijk looked comfortable as it seemed certain she would break the record. With her Trek-Segafredo teammate Lizzie Deignan watching on in the commentary box, she pounded the pedals with a steely focus right up until the bell rang, signalling the conclusion of the hour.
Van Dijk becomes the fifth new women's Hour Record holder, with her attempt beating Joss Lowden by more than 800 metres. Van Dijk came into today hoping her efforts would inspire more riders in the peloton to attempt the Hour Record, but her phenomenal ride makes it look difficult for another rider to better.
Van Dijk's Hour Record bike was a Trek Speed Concept TT bike, adapted for the track. The track adaptations allowed her to use a bike she has spent countless hours riding on the road.
The Dutch rider opted for a 58x14 combination - equating to a gear inch of 116, smaller than the 119 of Lowden's effort. This required a cadence between 93 to 97 revolutions per minute to bear the record, having surpassed it, her RPM must have been faster.
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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