Bradley Wiggins (Sky) confirmed again that he wants to target the hour record in 2015, telling the Guardian newspaper that he plans to do so as early as next June.
“If I pencil it in,” the 2012 Tour de France winner said, “it will be in late June because of the good weather, and it leads on from Paris-Roubaix and the training for that.”
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“I hope it is there to be broken and that I can pave the way for the next person, whether it’s Fabian [Cancellara] or Tony [Martin],” Wiggins, who returned to the track for this summer’s Commonwealth Games added. “I’d like to rejuvenate it, re-establish a mark for everyone to attempt. You can’t underestimate how hard it is.”
For years the record has been on the back burner after the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rolled back the record to Eddy Merckx’s 1972 distance of 49.431 kilometres and called it the Athlete’s Hour in the late 90s.
This ruling was supposed to stop the technical arms race as riders rolled out ever more sophisticated bikes and equipment to improve aerodynamics. The UCI was worried that the essence of the sport was being lost and records were as much a reflection of the quality of equipment rather than the ability of the rider.
On May 15 this year, the UCI changed the rulings again and brought the hour record in to line with the Olympics, allowing pursuit-style bikes and other modern equipment to be used. While the older records of Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman – set in the tuck and superman positions – were reinstated, it was Ondrej Sosenka’s 2005 record of 49.700 kilometres that remains the distance to beat.
For Wiggins, who counts two individual pursuit Olympic gold medals from 2004 and 2008, the rule change could not have come at a better time. He may likely never race the Tour de France again as he shifts his focus to one-day races and aims at a track return in the 2016 Rio Olympics. It could also be the push needed to get Cancellara and Martin on the boards.
The Guardian reported that Team Sky’s general manager, David Brailsford is currently trying to re-sign Wiggins for 2015 and 2016. He said that Wiggins “ought to try” the hour record.
“For him and his career, at some point, it would be a shame if he didn’t have a crack at it, given the change in the rules and so on,” Brailsford said. “I think he can do it and if you can do something you should have a crack at it.”
Wiggins, after sitting out this year’s Tour de France, returned to racing at the RideLondon-Surrey Classic earlier in August. He races again on Sunday in the GP Ouest France-Plouay one-day race before defending his Tour of Britain title and another attempt at the world championship time trial title in Ponferrada, Spain.