Bradley Wiggins has issued a call for more professional riders to take on the UCI Hour Record. Wiggins is set to take on Alex Dowsett's record of 52.937km at the London Olympic velodrome this Sunday with most pundits and commentators expecting him to set a new benchmark. Wiggins, himself, hasn't ruled out toppling Chris Boardman's 'Superman' record from the mid 1990s.
Dowsett, who set the current record last month, has indicated that he could have gone further during his attempt, leaving the door open for a second run, should Wiggins raise the bar this weekend.
"I welcome competition. Whatever I do on Sunday I hope someone goes for the record again, even if they fail. If no one attacks them because they're frightened of failing, then the record will sit there dormant. That’s what sport's all about," Wiggins said at a press conference after an hour-long training session on the track.
"It will add more kudos to the record the more people that attempt it. [Riders like] Tony Martin, Cancellara, Alex Dowsett, Rohan Dennis. Up to now it seems like people have been in a rush to get in there before I do it, and that's great, but I hope it continues after this weekend, whatever the record is."
On Wednesday, Wiggins will carry out another training session, riding at a race pace of 55kph. He has used Tony Rominger's 55.291 km record from 1994 has a benchmark during his training and during Tuesday's session open to the media he set constant laps at 16.2 seconds, well within record setting pace.
Asked if he was in the best track form of his career, Wiggins replied: "If I was to get up and do a 4 kilometre pursuit I reckon I could get close to the world record in the right conditions or certainly go close to the PB I used to do."
Part of Wiggins' improvement on the track, he says, is down to a newfound maturity. He cut his teeth on the track as a junior and won multiple world titles and Olympic medals before focusing on the road.
"I can put myself through harder efforts on the track than I used to be able to do when I was coming off the road and onto the track. Compared to what we were doing on the road for the Tour de France it's easy money.
"It's that perception of what you thought was hard is now a walk in the park. We're doing 55km race pace tomorrow, and we'd have never done that four days out."
Wiggins will perform in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday in what will be his first competitive performance on the London velodrome. He has drafted in Hugh Porter as the official commentator, and called as many shots as possible during the build-up and process. His new maturity comes with a newfound freedom that he has enjoyed since leaving the Team Sky shackles in the spring. Since then Wiggins has been the focal point of his new WIGGINS team and gone from being a cog in the mechanical WorldTour fold to the boss and talisman of the new team.
“I think that having the freedom of not being in a professional team any more has helped a lot because I’ve not had to juggle my race programme. I did the Tour de Yorkshire and that was it. There hasn’t been any hurdles as such and it’s been a straight run. There have been no hiccups.
"It's certainly not easy. I really enjoy doing this type of thing, from this time triallng background and just how quantifiable it is. I find that easy mentally."