If you had to name a selection of riders who could be capable of beating Bradley Wiggins’s Hour Record of 54.526km, chances are Dion Beukeboom would not be among them.
However the 28-year-old Dutchman, who currently rides for third division team Destil-Jo Piels and finished a distant 10th in the time trial at his national championships in June, thinks that he has a good chance of beating Wiggins’s mark.
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The reason for this is that while eight-time Olympic medallist and former Tour de France winner Wiggins did his attempt at sea level in London with high air pressure, Beukeboom says he will head to altitude in faster conditions, and will also dedicate his entire 2018 season to the attempt.
“I do not have the illusion that I am a better cyclist than Wiggins. But I know that Wiggins did his record under conditions that were not ideal,” Beukeboom told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
A track specialist, Beukeboom has twice won bronze medals in the individual pursuit at the European Championships, is the reigning Dutch champion on the discipline, and will be receiving extra resources from his new team, Vlasman Cycling Team, for the attempt.
Beukeboom has enlisted the help of physiologist Jim van den Berg to help with the attempt, who explained the benefits that would be gained from chasing the record at 1,887m above sea level at the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico.
“At the height, the effect of reduced air pressure is greater than the loss of reduced oxygen uptake,” Van den Berg said. “Compared to London, Dion will gain between 25 and 45 watts by attacking the record at Aguascalientes.”
Van den Berg also explained how Wiggins’s Hour Record attempt had been compromised by commercial interests, and that he had left the door open to attempts by others, such as Beukeboom, by not making his attempt in optimal conditions.
“Wiggins rode in London, on a low velodrome, at high air pressure. It was a commercial event. Tickets were sold, a book about the attempt was published, big shots were invited to come and watch,” he continued.
“However, the Hour Record was not as quick as it could have been. There is a window of opportunity and we want to crawl through it.”