Merckx: Wiggins' Hour Record will stay for some time

Former record holder believes only Cancellara or Martin can beat him

Eddy Merckx believes that Bradley Wiggins has put the UCI Hour Record out of sight for some time.

The Brit rode to a distance of 54.562 kilometres at the Lee Valley VeloPark velodrome in London on Sunday evening, surpassing Alex Dowsett's previous benchmark of 52.937, which was set last month.

"I think Wiggins has become the world record holder for a while," said Merckx told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. "You must be more than gifted to ride further. Few of the current peloton can go faster."

Merckx himself once held the Hour Record, riding 49.431km back in 1972, an experience he describes as “the most painful hour of my entire career”. The Belgian, who didn't see Wiggins'’ ride as he was en route to an airport, believes there aren't many riders capable of going further than the current world time trial champion.

"I didn't see it myself but I'm curious to see his lap times," he said. "I only see Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin [breaking the record]. But the German Etixx-QuickStep rider will have to improve his position on the bike."

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