Sir Bradley Wiggins believes that Belgian Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) will beat his hour record in 2019.
The British 2012 Tour de France champion set the current hour record at 54.526 kilometres on June 7, 2015.
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Wiggins has revealed he has been following Campenaerts’ time trials and track tests.
“I see him getting 55km,” Wiggins said on Wednesday at the Crystal Bike awards in Belgium.
Wiggins, retired from the road since 2016, presented Campenaerts with the Crystal Bike trophy on the stage.
“I believe in your chances. I hope he breaks my record next year. He is a good rider and a really nice person,” Wiggins said.
“It would also be good for cycling if the attention around the hour record continues. And it is also time that the record is passed on to the next generation. That is healthy for the sport.”
European time trial champion Campenaerts tested himself for 30 minutes in Grenchen, Switzerland, in September.
He had just finished the Vuelta a España and placed third in the World Championships time trial behind Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), who briefly held the hour record before Wiggins.
He rode at 54.8 kilometres an hour, upping the speed to 60 for the last four laps of the test. He called it a “very positive” trial.
The 27-year-old was surprised when Wiggins appeared on stage to present him the award.
“I really did not see this coming,” Campenaerts said. “I’ve never had an idol, but if I have to name someone, it’s him.
“Especially because he has a real personality even beyond cycling, he also seeks the extremes of the sport. Wiggins started his career with Olympic gold in the pursuit then he focused on the Tour and the Worlds time trial. I also love his rock ‘n’ roll look.”
Campenaerts plans on a full hour attempt in 2019 when he has free time from his duties on the road with Belgian WorldTour team Lotto-Soudal.
“The world hour record remains my big goal,” he added. “It makes me proud that Wiggins believes in me and thinks I will break it. He had to say that here, for a Belgian audience, but well, it’s nice to hear.
“It’s a big challenge. But I’ve already done a lot of testing and Kevin De Weert [performance manager at Lotto-Soudal] is also working on it in detail.”
Dutchman Dion Beukeboom tried last to break Wiggins’ record in August. He fell short with a respectable 52.757 km.