Thomas Dekker came amazingly close to breaking the Hour Record last night, falling just a lap short of dethroning Australia’s Rohan Dennis.
Despite looking like he would fall some way short throughout his effort, the Dutchman pulled off a great performance, but was somewhat let down by the shambolic television coverage of the event.
As we noted when Jack Bobridge attempted the record at the end of January, information for the viewer is a pretty important thing in order to maintain interest. Shown live on Eurosport, Dekker’s attempt at least featured an on-screen clock, but when that was found to be running slow the whole spectacle veered sharply towards being a debacle.
Twitter was ablaze with scorn and satire as we were treated to various snapshots of a lady writing numbers on a piece of paper in the middle of the track – the only way anyone could keep track of what was going on.
Luckily, Hour Record aficionado and Cycling Weekly columnist Michael Hutchinson was on hand to provide some information, but even the Doctor was left a bit in the dark.
The UK’s top cycling brain, UK Cycling Expert, tried to reassure us that this pen and paper technique was pretty common in the sport, but the world was not convinced.
As the hour went by, however, there was some concern that no-one at the track would actually tell Dekker when the 60 minutes was up.
But instead of the traditional gunshot to signal the end of the hour, a lady by the track rang a bell, bringing even more confusion.
Then the backlash really started, with ITV’s very own Ned Boulting leading the charge.
But cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, distanced themselves from the farce.
But luckily Dr Hutch is prepared for Sarah Storey’s record attempt in London on Saturday.