Campenaerts: I need the best possible conditions to beat Wiggins' Hour Record

Belgian hoping altitude training camp and Mexico track can give him an edge

Victor Campenaerts has admitted he will need the best possible atmospheric conditions if he is beat Bradley Wiggins' UCI Hour Record of 54.526km.

Campenaerts has spent the last two months training at altitude in Namibia and is hoping to find a final one percent of form by riding Tirreno-Adriatico later this month.

Speaking in Belgium on Monday, the Lotto Soudal rider confirmed he would make his Hour Record attempt on April 16 on the Aguascalientes indoor velodrome in Mexico. If the air pressure is not suitable he will delay his attempt for 24 hours. The attempt is scheduled for lunchtime local time and so evening prime time in Europe.

The Aguascalientes velodrome is at an altitude of 1,800m, with the reduced air pressure making it one of the fastest tracks in the world. Vittoria Bussi set the women’s Hour Record there in September 2018, covering 48.007km and bettering the mark set by Evelyn Stevens in 2016.

Wiggins was recently in Belgium and encouraged Campenaerts to try to beat the distance he set in London in 2015, when atmospherical conditions were not perfect and there was no altitude advantage.

"I’m certainly not a better rider than Wiggins," Campenaerts admitted, "but he didn’t do his record in ideal conditions, I need the best possible conditions to beat Wiggins’ Hour Record.

"It would be fantastic to take the record from Wiggins and get on a list that includes Eddy Merckx, among others."

Campenaerts suggested his form was already "at a very high level" after sacrificing the first part of his 2019 season for his Hour Record attempt.

"It is difficult to estimate at what level you are without racing. But I think I'm at a very high level. I only need Tirreno-Adriatico to be one percent better, and I've grown enormously in my two months internship."

The 18th attempt

Campenarts' attempt will be the 18th crack at the men’s Hour Record since the UCI modified its rules to allow for use of aerodynamic equipment. There have been nine official attempts to beat Wiggins mark, three by Dane Martin Toft Madsen, two by his compatriot Mikkel Bjerg, and one by American Tom Zirbel, Swiss riders Micah Gross and Marc Dubois and Dutchman Dion Beukeboom.

Bjerg came the closest last October at age 19, covering a remarkable 53.73km and setting a new Danish record in Odense, Denmark. He is planning another attempt later in 2019.

"The world hour record has always appealed to me." Campenaerts explained.

“When Dion Beukeboom couldn’t break the record last year, but rode a good distance, the idea of an attack started to develop and then Thomas de Gendt urged me to go for during the entire Vuelta a Espana.

"After my bronze medal at the time trial World Championships, I did a test and rode pretty smoothly at record pace for half an hour. I think I have a very big chance to break the record, otherwise I would not be half sacrifice my season."
 

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