Matthias Brändle will attempt to beat Jens Voigt’s Hour Record on Thursday evening at the UCI Headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland.
UK fans may be familiar with the Austrian IAM Cycling rider by virtue of his two Tour of Britain stage wins in September.
But if that’s all you know about the latest hour challenger, here’s your quick primer.
1. Brändle was born on December 7, 1989. His home town is Hohenems in Austria, just five kilometres from Switzerland.
2. His cycling career started aged 12, when he joined the local mountain bike club, RV-Hohenems. “It was a welcome change to football, a sport in which I did not have the necessary talent,” he says. His first road club was Team Pro Cycle Bregenz.
3. He completed a course in mechanical engineering, specialising in plastic technology, at the Bregenz Höhere Technische Lehranstalten (Higher Technical Institute).
4. Brändle has progressed through the cycling ranks. In 2008, he rode with third division Team Ista, and two years later he signed for the Footon-Servetto ProTour squad. It was in their gold kit that he completed his first Grand Tour — the 2010 Giro d’Italia, in which he finished 90th overall, three hours, 18 minutes and nine seconds behind winner Ivan Basso.
5. He also completed the 2011 Vuelta a Espana for Geox-TMC. He rode in support of Spaniard Juan Jose Cobo, who beat Team Sky’s Chris Froome by 13 seconds overall. “It was a very special experience,” he said.
6. A year at Team NetApp followed (best result: seventh on stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia). He signed for his current squad, IAM Cycling, in 2013. He is seen below in a breakaway during this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné.
7. This year, Brändle won the Austrian time trial championships for the third time. Then, like a bus, he managed to pick up two victories in as many stages during the Tour of Britain. He clipped off into Exeter on day five after a day long breakaway, and then was part of a three-man move alongside Alex Dowsett that turned the race on its head en route to Hemel Hempstead.
8. He says the perfect way to spend an evening would be driving a Ferrari around a racing track. “Preferrably I’d have [F1 driver] Fernando Alonso as the driving instructor,” he adds.. He also owns two motorbikes, and says he uses them to switch off from cycling.
9. Brändle’s favourite food is a “fine, tender” steak.
10. He currently lives in Vorarlberg, the westernmost federal state of Austria.
The 24-year-old will make his attempt on the 200m track of the UCI’s World Cycling Centre velodrome in Switzerland, exactly six weeks after Voigt set a new record of 51.115km.
Brandle’s team estimate that he’ll be able to ride around 52km after recent tests. His attempt starts at 6pm British time on Thursday [October 30].
Jens Voigt closes career with new World Hour Record of 51.115km