Ritter was a great time triallist who set a number of world records on the track, including the Hour Record in 1968. It was the Danish rider’s Hour Record that Eddy Merckx broke in 1972, which in turn became the mark for the Athlete’s Hour passed by Chris Boardman in 2000.
We visited the Ritter in Denmark last week to talk about his career and about the Hour Record for upcoming features in Cycle Sport and Cycling Weekly magazines, and we asked him about the Hour Record today. In the light of recent successful attempts by Jens Voigt and Matthias Brändle, Ritter has a message for anyone who is thinking about having a go to beat the current holder Brändle’s 51.852 kilometres.
“They should do it before Wiggins does,” he says. “They should do it before Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin too. With Wiggins, those three will raise the record by a lot, but out of those three I think Wiggins will do the furthest because he is the best track rider.”
When asked to predict a distance for Wiggins, Ritter said: “Just look at the time he beats Voigt or Brändle by in a time trial of about an hour, and apply that time gap to distance on the track. I would say on average Wiggins has always been four minutes faster than Voigt or Brändle over one hour, so take how far will he travel in four minutes on the track and add that to the record now.”
So we did. In their most recent contest Wiggins beat the current world Hour Record holder Brändle in the 2014 world time trial championships by 3 minutes 39 seconds, which transferred to the track would be at least three kilometres’ difference. Brandle’s record is 51.852 kilometres, and if you add three kilometres that gives a predicted distance for Wiggins of 54.852 kilometres.
“And maybe it will be more than the road time trial gap if Wiggins has all the time he needs to do the special training. Plus, because Wiggins is such a good track rider with great technique, and track technique plays a big part in the Hour Record, that will help him ride further,” Ritter said.
It could well be that Sir Bradley Wiggins will break the 55-kilometre barrier in 2015, and given the current technical regulations surrounding the Hour Record that certainly would put it on the shelf for some time to come.
More on the Hour Record
IAM Cycling's Matthias Brändle set a new Hour Record, but his team's owner Michel Thétaz thinks that Bradley Wiggins will
Jens Voigt closes career with new World Hour Record of 51.115km