By Gregor Brown
Fabian Cancellara plans to take aim at the hour record in 2014, possibly in Manchester, according to his RadioShack-Leopard team. The Swiss, four-time time trial world champion, may attempt it in late April/early May after the classics.
"To begin with, we need to work with materials with Trek's engineers then we will look at the right moment to try it," team general manager, Luca Guercilena told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
"The ideal time would be right after a peak in form because he'll need three weeks to adapt to the track. Two periods are available, right after the Spring Classics or after the two Grand Tours that Fabian will have in his programme."
The Italian newspaper reported that Cancellara will race the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España or the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. It added he will likely decide on the former pair.
Trek would give its full support to the project. The American bicycle manufacturer is already the team owner and title sponsor for 2014 after it bought the licence for from former owner, Luxembourg's Flavio Becca.
Guercilena, who is also the Swiss national coach, named Manchester as a possible venue for 32-year-old Cancellara to race.
"The track has to be as fast as possible," Guercilena added. "We haven't yet made specific tests but when we asked, three fastest three velodromes came up." He listed Aguascalientes, Mexico, and Anadia, Portugal, along with Manchester.
Chris Boardman set his record, 49.441 kilometres in an hour, in Manchester on October 27, 2000. Only Czech Ondřej Sosenka went faster. He rode 49.700 kilometres in Moscow in 2005.
Several Grand Tour stars - including Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil and Fausto Coppi - broke the hour record in their days. In the 1980s and 1990s, Francesco Moser, Graeme Obree, Miguel Indurain, Tony Rominger and Boardman set records on bikes and in positions that were later banned.
Cycling's governing body, the UCI standardised the equipment rules and rolled the record back to Merckx's 49.431 distance from 1972. After it established the new rules, attempts died down. Only Boardman and Sosenka passed the mark.
Cancellara already won the Olympic time trial in 2008, Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders twice and Paris-Roubaix three times. "I have other goals, I'd like to win all the monuments and the hour record," Cancellara said in 2010. "Even Merckx said that he'd be there to support me for the hour."
His attempt could start in a new round of attempts. If successful, Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and other modern stars may tackle the hour record.
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