On Sunday Sir Bradley Wiggins will attempt to smash the World Hour Record – the record for the furthest distance in a velodrome that a single rider can cover in one hour. One of the most illustrious track cycling records in existence, it has seen numerous cycling legends such as Eddy Merckx, Chris Boardman, and Graeme Obree all set the standard at various times.
The first record of an hour attempt was by Frank Dobbs in 1876 on a penny farthing, who travelled just over 26.5kms. Henri Desgrange (who later went on to ‘invent’ the Tour de France) set the first officially recognised record in 1893.
Throughout the ‘90s there was an intense rivalry between Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman- fuelled partly by their massively differing approaches. Chris Boardman represented the cutting edge of cycling science, using expensive and technologically advanced equipment to maximise his training and efficiency on the bike. In contrast, Graeme Obree took a more back-to-basics approach, opting to devise his own training methods and a bike he made himself which, according to folklore, features parts from his old washing machine.
In 2014 the UCI updated the rules for the hour record and this sparked off the current flurry of record attempts. Trek Factory’s Jens Voigt was the first to make an attempt on the record and broke it with 51.110km. Matthais Brandle successfully updated the record, followed by subsequent attempts by Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Gustav Larsson and Thomas Dekker. Dekker was the first to break through 52kms but Alex Dowsett reset the record to 52.937km in May this year.
This weekend Bradley will be the next man to take up the challenge, at Lee Valley Velo Park– the home of the London 2012 Olympic track cycling events.
Bradley’s Target distance
Bradley Wiggins is targeting a distance of 55.250km in his attempt to break the hour record – that’s equivalent to 221 laps of the velodrome. If he pulls this off it will be an increase of 2.313km over Alex Dowsett’s current record. In a recent interview Bradley said that he was in great form at the moment and despite nerves, really looking forward to Sunday’s attempt.
Where to watch Bradley’s Hour
Unless you were lucky enough to get a seat in the velodrome (tickets sold out in fifteen minutes!) then you’ll need to watch Bradley’s attempt on the TV. Sky Sports will be covering the event and live coverage will be available on Sky Sports Two from 6pm. Sky will also broadcast a live stream from the Sky Sports website and their YouTube channel. The Freeview channel PICK will also have live coverage of the event.
Training for the hour
Like most pros Bradley started off his season’s preparations with a training camp abroad, taking advantage of predictable weather patterns, warm temperatures and good riding. Over the last few months he will have been increasing amounts of time in the velodrome working on his equipment, pacing and strategy – as well as training hard towards an hour of anaerobic effort.
There is also this:
…custom 3D printed titanium handlebars in collaboration with Jaguar for his Hour Record attempt bike. The handlebars look to have given Wiggo a more aerodynamic position than the position he adopted for his recent 10 mile time trial… Source
Not many of us have easy access to a velodrome, but continental training camps featuring sunshine and great roads are much more doable, and a great way to build your cycling fitness. We particularly like cycling holidays in Spain, like Costa Cycling Experience. With both holidays and training camps in the sun available, for a variety of different performance levels, they’re a good way to start your season like Sir Bradley – and who knows where it might lead you!