Voigt breaks world hour record

German makes historic attempt in Switzerland

German Jens Voigt has become the first rider crack 50 kilometers ridden in the world hour record since the UCI modified the rules earlier this year. Voigt bested the previous mark - set by Ondrej Sosenka on a standard bike without aerodynamic equipment in Moscow on July 19, 2005 - by more than a kilometer.

Voigt rode 51.115km, or more than 204 laps, over the hour on the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland on Thursday night.

The Trek Factory Racing rider called an end to his road career at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado in August, 2014, but soon announced his attempt at the record. When the day came, the German was more than up to the task.

"I went off a little too fast at the start and I had a bad spell after the halfway mark, but the support of the crowd and knowing that this was my last race meant that I could finish strongly," Voigt said. "I gave everything in the last 20 minutes. I'm really happy with the distance: 51km is more than I imagined. It’s an intense event: there is no downhill, no hiding behind a teammate; it's like a breakaway when you don't want to be caught by the peloton."

The feat was the first since the UCI unified the rules for the hour record in May, allowing the record to be attempted on a bike that meets the current rules for individual pursuit, rather than restricting records to the previous two categories, the hour record, which specified no aerodynamic equipment, and the "best human effort", which allowed upright bicycle frames with certain aerodynamic enhancements.

Before Sosenka, the record was held by Chris Boardman, who set the mark in October, 2000. Boardman still holds the mark for "best human effort", set in September of 1996, when he rode 56.373km in the "superman" position with an aerodynamic frame and a rear disc wheel.

Voigt used a modified version of the Trek Speed Concept frame, with dual disc wheels and standard aero bars to rack up more distance than any rider on a standard bike, even surpassing the first aerodynamic performance of Francesco Moser from Mexico City in 1984.

“I am extremely proud to be joining all the iconic riders that have beaten this record before me," Voigt said.

“I saw Chris Boardman beating the record in 2000 and I said to myself: 'what a great way that would be to finish my career'. 33 years of cycling behind me. This was my last attempt. I'm in so much pain... But what a way to retire!"

The hour record dates back to the early days of the bicycle, but it was made famous in recent history by the long-standing record of Eddy Merckx. Although Merckx's mark of 49.431km held only until Francesco Moser broke 50km in 1984, the UCI retroactively changed the rules in 2000, disallowing all records set that did not adhere to the traditional position and equipment set by Merckx in 1972. Therefore, the efforts of Tony Rominger, Miguel Indurain, Graeme Obree and Moser were all relegated to the "best human effort" category.

In May, 2014, the UCI changed the rules, allowing all records set on equipment that conformed to the UCI rules at the time. Sosenka's 49.7km stood from 2005, although American Colby Pearce went 100m further in 2013, his record was not ratified by the UCI because he was not part of the biological passport programme.

Hour Record Results (* "best human effort", ** previous record, *** to be ratified)

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chris Boardman (Manchester, UK)* September 7, 199656.375 
2Tony Rominger (Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux)* November 5, 199455.291 
3Tony Rominger (Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux)* October 22, 199453.832 
4Miguel Indurain (Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux)* September 2, 199453.040 
5Graeme Obree (Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux)* April 27, 199452.713 
6Chris Boardman (Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux)* July 23, 199352.270 
7Graeme Obree (Hamar, Norway)* July 17, 199351.596 
8Francesco Moser (Mexico City)* January 23, 198451.151 
9Jens Voigt (Grenchen, Switzerland ) September 18, 2014 ***51.115 
10Francesco Moser (Mexico City)* January 19, 198450.808 
11Ondrej Sosenka (Moscow, Russia) July 19, 2005 **49.700 
12Chris Boardman (Manchester, UK) October 27, 200049.441 
13Eddy Merckx (Mexico City) October 25, 197249.431 
14Ole Ritter (Mexico City) October 10, 196848.653 
15Ferdi Bracke (Olympic Velodrome, Rome) October 30, 196748.093 
16Roger Rivière (Vigorelli, Milan) September 23, 195947.347 
17Jean Nuttli (Vienna) November 16, 200247.093 
18Roger Rivière (Vigorelli, Milan) September 18, 195746.923 
19Jean Nuttli (Vienna) December 15, 200446.642 
20Ercole Baldini (Vigorelli, Milan) September 19, 195646.394 
21Jacques Anquetil (Vigorelli, Milan) June 29, 195646.159 
22Fausto Coppi (Vigorelli, Milan) November 7, 194245.798 
23Maurice Archambaud (Vigorelli, Milan) November 3, 193745.767 
24Frans Slaats (Vigorelli, Milan) September 29, 193745.485 
25Maurice Richard (Vigorelli, Milan) October 14, 193645.325 
26Giuseppe Olmo (Velodromo Vigorelli, Milan) October 31, 193545.090 
27Maurice Richard (Sint-Truiden, Belgium) September 28, 193344.777 
28Jan Van Hout (Roermond) August 25, 193344.588 
29Oscar Egg (Paris) August 18, 191444.247 
30Marcel Berthet (Paris) September 20, 191343.775 
31Oscar Egg (Paris) August 21, 191343.525 
32Marcel Berthet (Paris) August 7, 191342.741 
33Oscar Egg (Paris) August 22, 191242.122 
34Marcel Berthet (Paris) June 20, 190741.520 
35Lucien Petit-Breton (Buffalo, Paris) August 24, 190541.110 
36Willie Hamilton (Colorado Springs, USA) July 3, 189840.781 
37Oscar Van Den Eynde (Vincennes, Paris) July 30, 189739.240 
38Jules Dubois (Buffalo, Paris) October 31, 189438.220 
39Henri Desgrange (Buffalo, Paris) May 11, 189335.325 
40Frank Dodds (Cambridge University Ground) August 25, 187626.508 

 

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