Ellen van Dijk has highlighted how hard breaking Joss Lowden's UCI Hour Record will be as she attempts the challenge later on Monday.
Joss Lowden currently holds the women's Hour Record with a distance of 48.405km, set in September 2021 at the same Swiss velodrome where Van Dijk will be riding later today.
The 35-year-old's attempt gets underway at 4pm BST from the Velodrome Suisse, in Grenchen, Switzerland. While she is confident of breaking the record, Van Dijk also revealed she is unsure of her true capabilities and will simply ride to surpass Lowden's distance.
“I don't know exactly what is possible for me yet," Van Dijk told WielerFlits (opens in new tab). "Of course I know a little how it goes, but a full hour is something else. I'm going to start to get under the record schedule as soon as possible.
"Don't get me wrong, the current record is a really high standard. Not many people will know Joss Lowden's name because she's not super famous. But what she has done is really very special. It's really not easy to just ride that record off the books. Let me try to break that first.”
Despite being the current world time trial champion, Van Dijk admits there aren't many similarities between the Hour Record attempt and a time trial event. The Dutchwoman suggests staying as aerodynamic as possible is both crucial and difficult for the full hour.
"It is not comparable to a normal time trial," she said. "I really see this as a totally different discipline. I am not an inexperienced time trialist, but I had to learn a lot for this hour record. Yes, despite my track record.
"I have never worked so long on my position like this; now I need to be as aerodynamic as possible. And then I have to keep driving on the black line as best I can, without seeing where I'm riding."
For Van Dijk, an hour of solid riding on the limit isn't anything she has ever done before. Alluding to the mental game she will have to contend with at the velodrome, Van Dijk highlights how her World Time Trial Championship ride took just over half the length of time it will take her to complete the Hour Record.
“I've never had to concentrate for so long in my life. That might also be one of the hardest things during the hour. I've done time trials, but we don't have that many long time trials in a year.
"The World Time Trial Championships in Leuven, for example, was one, but it lasted 36 minutes. That was the longest I ever did, I think. Then you're only halfway there, which also plays a role.
"In a normal time trial you can still work towards bends, a climb or descent. You have to focus very differently on the road than here.”
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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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