Ellen van Dijk has announced she will attempt the UCI Hour Record on May 23, at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland.
Since joining Trek-Segafredo in 2019, Van Dijk has floated the idea of possibly attempting the Hour Record to the team. However, it wasn't until she became the time trial world champion when she seriously considered working towards the challenge, with planning taking place in December 2021.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very long time," Van Dijk said. "The hour record is something that I have always said I wanted to do one day and now that day is finally here. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about doing it, a mix of excitement and nerves which is normal. You are always just on the edge with big challenges, and this is a huge challenge, so it is going to be exciting and frightening at the same time.
📢 @ellenvdijk has some exciting news to share 📢 pic.twitter.com/aXPFZcCzQlApril 13, 2022
“We started talking about the hour record when I first joined Trek-Segafredo, but I knew it wasn’t the right time. I was still overcoming injuries and knew I wouldn’t be at my best. Now, however, I know I am ready to really challenge the current benchmark."
Joss Lowden is the current holder of the women's Hour Record, setting a distance of 48.405km in September 2021 at the same venue where Van Dijk will attempt the challenge herself. Explaining the reasoning behind this decision, Van Dijk suggested staying in Europe ensures optimal preparation, while also expressing her admiration for Lowden's record.
“As we haven’t tested the full set up yet, I don’t know exactly what kind of watts I will need to achieve but the aim will just be to try to go as fast as I can for the full sixty minutes," Van Dijk added.
"I don’t have a set distance in mind, I just want to break it in the first instance. Of course, it won’t be an easy task because I have a lot of respect for the record set by Joss. She did a really great job and set a high benchmark to reach, 48.4km, so it’s certainly going to be a very very tough hour.
“Joss also did it in Grenchen and that’s where I will attempt my hour record too. We chose the Velodrome Suisse as it is a very fast track and although attempting it in Mexico, at altitude, might have been even faster it would have required a completely different preparation.”
For the time being, though, the 35-year-old is still focussing on the Spring Classics. Paris-Roubaix Femmes, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes all remain on the Women's WorldTour calendar, and Van Dijk clarified she isn't fully turning her attention to the Hour Record until those races are complete.
“We are still in the process of getting everything prepared for the big day and, of course, I want to continue racing well through all the remaining Spring Classics. This means my focus has not been exclusively on the hour record but that will change by May.
“What I am doing already is trying to train more and more on my time trial bike because I will need to hold my position for a very long time. I was at the wind tunnel on Monday and we’ve also done some track testing but the majority of that is still to be done in the coming weeks."
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