Thomas Dekker has announced plans to tackle the Hour Record next spring. Currently held by Mattias Brändle, who recently broke Jens Voigt's record with a ride of 51.850 kilometres, Dekker announced the plans in an interview with Algemeen Dagblad. The news comes as it emerged that Garmin-Sharp would not be extending Dekker's contract for 2015, leaving the Dutch rider without a WorldTour team for the first time since his return from a two-year ban for doping.
“It will be one of the hardest hours of my life, but that does not matter to me. I'm not afraid of it. The next few months I’ll put everything aside for it: I’m going to throw in everything I have in that one hour. And yes, of course I'm going to make it,” Dekker told Algemeen Dagblad.
Dekker has struggled to land major results since his return from his ban. Garmin-Sharp team manager Jonathan Vaughters gave the one-time Rabobank and Silence-Lotto rider a second chance in 2011 after putting the rider through his paces with a series of stringent physiological tests. Dekker had the ambition of riding the Tour de France in Garmin colours but that opportunity never materalised and despite being a solid domestique he has fallen down the pecking order at the team. Following the merger between Cannondale and Garmin-Sharp, spaces were at a premium on the team and the 30-year-old Dutchman was unable to secure a place.
“I have struggled in recent years. During training, I was flying, but in the races it never showed. Previously, racing went without saying, I did not think about it, but in recent years I thought it through too much. The confidence I once had slowly seeped away. It was a gradual process, “Dekker admitted in the interview.
“The attack on the world record is a wake-up call. Excuses are useless; you cannot hide during the hour record. It's very simple: you get it or you do not get it. If you get it, you are the hero; if you do not get it, you’re a loser. It's do or die.”
Dekker said that he decided to attack the Hour Record on the day Garmin-Sharp broke the contract news to him.
“I was disappointed, but it also opened new doors. I'm not done with cycling, I’m done with a role in the margin. Look, I could be riding for a small Italian team, but were would that take me? The attack on the world record is something else. Ambitious and all or nothing: that suits me.”
Unlike Voigt and Brändle, Dekker is not attached to a specific team or sponsor. Voigt was given the backing of Trek Factory Racing, Brändle the same from IAM Cycling, meaning that Dekker and his agent are hunting for panrters for the new challenge.
“We want to invite companies to join in and participate in the record attempt. The hour record is also combat for the best equipment. How do we give him the fastest bike? Which position is the most aerodynamic? Which helmet? Which paint? Which wheels? What is the fastest velodrome in the world? He is not attached to a team, a bicycle brand or a sponsor, so we are open to all ideas,” Dekker’s agent, Martijn Berkhout, told the newspaper.