British time trial star Matt Bottrill was to put in an attempt at the iconic Hour Record this summer, but a series of setbacks caused by lack of clarity in the rules have forced him to put the attempt on ice.
Bottrill was initially due to attempt the record in August, then September but has now been informed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (opens in new tab) (UCI) that any rider wishing to attempt the record must be part of its biological passport anti-doping programme.
Currently only riders in WorldTour-level ProTeams, Professional Continental teams and selected other individuals are part of the passport scheme. This rules out the majority of track riders and riders who are not part of top-level international road teams.
"There is no wording in the rules saying a biological passport is needed," Bottrill told Cycling Weekly. "But I heard on the grapevine that this was going to be applied. So I emailed the UCI last week and got confirmation that this was the case."
"The first plan was [to do the attempt on] August 8, but then we read the rules and it was not clear if a time trial bike was allowed. Then I got confirmation it was, but that took a week," explained Bottrill. "So then the plan was to go for September 14 at Newport. But then I got the news that I could not do it. I could go for the masters record, but it's not quite the same."
Bottrill has been training for the event, and has the bike ready. However, without the lengthy process of building up a biological passport profile, he is not eligible to make the attempt.
When contacted by Cycling Weekly, a spokesperson at the UCI told us: "Clearly it is in the interests of the sport to ensure that riders who attempt iconic records such as the Hour do so on equal terms.
"For those riders who are not already in the Athlete Biological Passport programme, that will mean a degree of testing to establish their biological profiles by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) - the independent body mandated by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to carry out the anti-doping testing programme in cycling - before the attempt."
The UCI altered the rules for the Hour Record in May, scrapping the controversial 'athlete's hour record' with its highly-specific equipment regulations. Anyone attempting the record can now use a track pursuit bike which adheres to UCI rules for such a bike.
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) have both expressed an interest in attempting the record. Both riders are part of the UCI's biological passport scheme as they ride for WorldTour teams.
The Hour Record is recorded as the distance ridden by a cyclist within a one-hour period. The current record is 49.7km set by the Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka.
The UCI regulations on the Hour record can be read here (opens in new tab). Rule 3.5.026 on page 73
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