Bobridge holds the 4km individual pursuit world record and in Melbourne, Australia this weekend aims to add the Hour to his repertoire with a distance all parties hope will stand for more than the going month.
“He holds the individual pursuit world record and we’ve had lots of discussions over the last two years about where he is at and coming back onto the track, which eventually happened at the Commonwealth Games,” Decker told Cycling Weekly yesterday.
“Through the process of last year it was, ‘OK Jack, why not try and be the best track endurance rider of your generation?’ He holds one world record already, if he can hold the world Hour Record and eventually take the No.1 goal, which is the [team pursuit at the] Rio Olympics, I think that’s pretty special for a guy in his generation.
“You’d have to look at that and go he was one of the best of his generation in track endurance cycling because we’ve covered off three different disciplines in track endurance and they’re all quite pinnacle.”
National men’s team pursuit coach Decker outlined the racing Bobridge has undergone since December last year in preparation for the event that included a stand-out performance at the Tour Down Under last week in which he won a stage and the mountain classification.
Bobridge has divided his time between the velodrome and road, racing the seven-day Tasmania Christmas Carnivals, which are a mix of criterium and track events, late December, plus the national madison championship, in which he won silver alongside Glenn O’Shea, and national time trial title where he claimed bronze.
“There has been a set structure but it’s been built around racing more so than just training because you have to factor in the Australian summer and how crazy it is with cycling here,” Decker said.
“We targeted a lot of races that are between 50 minutes and maybe an hour long so the Australian madison championship is a 50km race, you’ve got the best tactician in the world in Glenn O’Shea, you just go hard. That was the instruction. He spent 50 minutes on the rivet.”
Decker would not comment on mental preparation the duo has discussed ahead of the sell-out event at the Darebin International Sports Centre (DISC). Similarly, neither has publicly announced a goal distance unlike Dennis, as an example, whose BMC team has outlayed a 52.5km marker.
“I know that he can go over the required kilometres so providing there is no health issue, or mechanical issue, or the conditions are dreadful, he’s capable of beating the current record,” Decker said.
“But the way we’re trying to put it across to the public is we want to use them to try and inspire him on to go further than what we actually think he can do.
“I personally think if the Hour Record becomes real mechanical and people go, well, I’ve done the exact tests and that sort of stuff then it will start to lose its flare a little bit again,” he continued. “We’ll end up back where we were 10 years ago because that’s why people won’t attack it.”
Bobridge rode qualifying at his team pursuit national championships in Melbourne this week but has otherwise focused on recovery since the Tour Down Under, consorting with a dedicated team including a nutritionist, physio and osteopath. All involved have worked with a comparatively small budget but are confident going forward.
“I don’t have any stresses about Jack’s form, or his mental capabilities,” Decker said.
Matthias Brändle holds the current Hour Record of 51.852km that he set about a month after Jens Voigt opened the floodgates. However, Decker has suggested attempts will soon slow.
“I think what will happen now that some really good track riders, and I refer to Rohan, Brad and Jack as really good track riders, once these guys go out and set some marks that will slow up the attempts,” Decker said.
“Brad won’t do it unless he knows he can beat it, that’s my opinion,” he continued.
“They’ll be very structured about how they tackle it so I imagine he won’t have a go unless he knows he can beat it. Brad will lay his time out and hopefully he doesn’t get there, but there’s a fair chance he’s going to go close because we all know what kind of athlete he is.”
All eyes, however, will be on the 25-year-old Bobridge tomorrow when he commences his Hour Record attempt from 7.00pm AEST.