The UCI has officially announced that Victor Campenaerts will take on the UCI Hour Record on April 16 (Tuesday) or 17 (Wednesday) at Mexico’s Velodromo Bicentenario in Aguascalientes.
The 27-year-old Belgian, who rides for WorldTour team Lotto-Soudal and is current European time trial champion, will aim to beat the 54.526km record set by Bradley Wiggins at the Lee Valley Velodrome in 2015.
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Campenaerts has been preparing for the record attempt for some time, completing a trial run at the Vélodrome Suisse in Granges, Switzerland late last year. He’s since been to Namibia for two months of specific altitude training for the event.
He’ll compete in the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in March before flying out to Mexico where he’ll prepare for three weeks before the attempt on the Hour Record; one of the most gruelling efforts in cycling.
Unlike Wiggins, who completed his record attempt at a low altitude in London, Campenaerts will take advantage of the decreased air density of the Velodromo Bicentenario, which sits at 1,800m in altitude. Martin Toft Madsen of Denmark and Dion Beukeboom of the Netherlands staged their recent failed attempts at the same location, while the illustrious Eddy Merckx completed his Hour Record at altitude, albeit at 2,300m in Mexico City.
Speaking about the attempt, Campenaerts said the Hour Record is an opportunity to “write a bit of the sport’s history.”
“The UCI Hour Record is a unique challenge in cycling and to beat it would be a way for me to write a bit of the sport’s history,” Campenaerts said.
“I respect Bradley a lot and I do not consider myself as a better athlete than the former Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic champion.
“However, by making progress and taking into account every possible detail, I hope to have a chance to take over the Hour Record. Personally, the World Hour Record, the world time trial title and the Olympic time trial title are the three dreams I want to pursue the coming years, starting with the World Hour Record.”
UCI president David Lappartient added that he was pleased to see another rider go at the record, which hasn’t had a WorldTour rider attempt it since Wiggins set his benchmark.
Before that, Australia’s Rohan Dennis and Britain’s Alex Dowsett both briefly held the record in a year which saw a flurry of attempts following the UCI’s decision to change equipment rules and allow the use of aerodynamic pursuit bikes. German Jens Voigt was the first rider to complete the newly created ‘Unified’ Hour Record in 2014.
“I am delighted to see that the UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot continues to generate so much enthusiasm among riders, even if Bradley Wiggins raised the bar very high,” said Lappartient.
“Victor is a superb specialist who showed what he is capable of by climbing on to the podium at the last UCI Road World Championships. I cannot wait to see how he fares in Mexico in April, knowing the part that altitude can play in outstanding performances.”