‘I hope to not touch Wiggins’ power for even a second’: Can Dan Bigham’s aero gains overcome wattage in Hour Record attempt?

The aero expert and time trial specialist hopes to break the British record for 60 minutes on the track this week

Dan Bigham at the 2021 World Championships
Dan Bigham at the 2021 World Championships
(Image credit: Getty)

Dan Bigham has no illusions heading into his Hour Record. 

The aerodynamics expert, time trial specialist and Ribble-Weldtite rider is pitting himself against some of the biggest and best racers against the clock, as he tries to set the furthest possible distance in 60 minutes on the track this week. 

While Bigham has future plans to take on the World Hour Record, currently held by Belgium’s Victor Campenaerts, it’s the British record currently held by Sir Bradley Wiggins that’s first on the hit list. 

This Friday, Bigham plans to beat Wiggins’ record of 54.526km, as he takes on the Hour at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland, but his approach could not be more different that Wiggins’.

“I’m not anywhere near Wiggins’ power,” he told Cycling Weekly two days before his attempt. “If you exclude lap one, I hope to not even tough Wiggins’ average power for even a second.” 

Wiggins, Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner, is believed to have pushed somewhere in the region of 420 to 450 watts for his hour long ride at the Lee Valley velodrome in London back in 2015. 

Bigham on the other hand, one of the driving forces behind aerodynamic advancements in cycling in recent years, hopes to be in the region of 355-360w but still hopes to take the British record. 

“It’s just technological development,” he said.

“Your mind gets blown because you deal in this small little step changes that accumulate over time, then you make one big change back to what you were using years before and you realise ‘there’s 15w’.”

Bigham had such a realisation not long before his Hour Record attempt, when he tested some of his old skinsuits to compare to the newer equipment, and it made clear just how fast aerodynamics is progressing in cycling.  

While there is always a lot of pressure building behind the scenes of an Hour Record attempt, Bigham has cause for confidence. 

Earlier this year, Bigham laid down a benchmark during a simulation ride in Denmark, where he works with the Danish Olympic team, and with a rolling start he managed 54.7km in the hour. 

With the flying start giving him around a 200 metre head start when compared with the standing start he’ll need to perform on the day of his record, that still puts him level with Wiggins’ record, even on a velodrome he believes is slower than the Velodrome Suisse.

He said: “To beat Wiggins at sea level is hard. Wiggins is genuinely a world-class, outrageously good athlete, as his palmarès shows with Grand Tour wins. 

“I don’t have those to my name, so I’m doing the best I can by optimising everything outside of the power, because I don’t have a 400w-plus threshold.”

But does Bigham also think he could accidentally break the the world record, 55.089km, set by Campenaerts at altitude in Mexico in 2019?

“A few people have brought it up and there’s some doping troll on Twitter going off about it, but genuinely I think it’s highly unlikely. 

“I’d never say never, but it would be impressive if I managed to accidentally break the world record.”  

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