Bradley Wiggins has said that he hopes Victor Campenaerts beats his Hour Record next year. Wiggins was speaking on stage at the Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bike) awards, where he had awarded Campenaerts the trophy.
The current Hour Record, set by Wiggins at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London in June 2015, stands at 54.526km.
"I see him getting the 55 kilometres," Wiggins said, according to the Belgian press, before adding to Campenaerts: "I believe in your chances.
"I hope he breaks my record next year. He is a good rider and a really nice person. It would also be good for cycling if the attention around the world Hour Record continues. And it is also time that the record is passed on to the next generation. That is healthy for the sport."
Campenaerts announced his intentions to make an attempt on the Hour Record earlier this season. In October, he confirmed that it would take place next April in Mexico and he would spend time training in Namibia for the effort.
Since a rule change in 2014 that brought the ‘best human effort’ record together with the Hour Record, there has been a spate of attempts. Jens Voigt was the first to set a new benchmark for the men’s record at 51.110 kilometres but that was soon beaten by a number of riders before Wiggins’ effort in 2015. There have since been several further attempts to break Wiggins’ mark. Mikkel Bjerg’s 53.730km in October of this year is the closest any rider has come to beating it.
The Crystal Bike is in its 27th year and is given to the Belgian rider deemed to have had the best season. Run by the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, an extensive panel casts votes. On this occasion, Campenaerts beat Yves Lampaert by 52 points. Campenaerts won the Belgian time trial championships and defended his European time trial title in August before going on to claim a bronze medal in the event at the World Championships in Innsbruck. However, the 27-year-old was surprised to take the award.
"It’s unbelievable that I take this trophy here. I do not even have a shirt on," said Campenaerts, who donned a polo neck for the occasion. "And Wiggins handing me the trophy is great. That makes it even bigger.
"Belgium is still a country where one-day races, the Classics, are extremely popular. So, I suspected that Yves Lampaert would take the trophy. I came here without expectations, I wore a suit two years ago and today I did not even wear a shirt.
"If I look at the honours list of the Crystal Bike, I can only be very proud. I stand with some very big names."
Track rider Nicky Degrendele won the women’s award ahead of cyclo-cross world champion Sanne Cant. The 22-year-old took her first elite world title in commanding style in the Keirin at the World Championships in Apeldoorn earlier this year and a silver in the same event at the European Championships, as well as a gold in the under-23 competition. She is the third winner of the women’s award after it was inaugurated in 2016.