Former UCI Hour Record holder Jens Voigt said this week that he expects Bradley Wiggins to break the record on Sunday with a mark of 54 or 54.5km. During an interview with Sky Sports, Voigt said Wiggins’ goal of 55km will be hard to achieve.
“I know he wants to aim at 55km, but 55km but is very fast and we just don’t have the 'Superman' position anymore like Chris Boardman had, or smaller front wheels, which give you better aerodynamics, like the boys had in the past,” Voigt told Sky Sports.
“We are still using fairly fast bikes, but there are limits to it,” he said. “OK, he has got the whole science project from Team Sky behind him, but also Bradley is not getting younger.”
Although he’s now retired, Voigt can be credited with starting the ball rolling in regard to the current UCI Hour Record attempts. The German, who ended his career after the 2014 season, was the first rider to break the record after the UCI changed the rules last year.
Voigt set a new a mark of 51.110km on the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland on September 18, and the record has changed hands three times since then, with Alex Dowsett (Movistar) holding the current mark of 52.937 that he set last month on the Manchester Velodrome.
In the Sky Sports interview, Voigt suggested there are only three currently active riders who could beat the record if Wiggins breaks it on Sunday.
“He will put the bar very high and, after Bradley is finished with it, there will be only three people alive able to challenge that,” Voigt said. “That would be Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara, of course, and Adriano Malori, that young Italian kid who won the prologue in Tirreno-Adriatico this year.”
Voigt told said that he does not believe any other rider in the current professional ranks will be “physically able” to match a new mark by Wiggins. “If none of the three guys I just mentioned go, I think we will be looking at a 10-year break in the hour record after Bradley is finished,” he said.
Voigt also said that the Hour Record’s reputation as a very painful and difficult event is well deserved. He ranked it as one of the top-three hardest days of his entire career.
“If I would have punctured in the last five minutes and I maybe would have lost it because of that, I don’t think I would have gone again,” Voigt explained. “I would say, ‘OK, I gave it the best I had and it didn’t happen. I’m not going there again.’”
Voigt recalled Jack Bobridge’s attempt and the level of suffering he endured; when he was finished, staff had to take the front wheel off the Australian’s bike so that he could lift his leg over the top tube and dismount.
“He was so down and damaged and tired and cramped that he couldn’t get off his bike and lift his leg above the saddle,” Voigt said. “It’s hard, but then Bradley must have seen all the videos and know.”
Voigt also revealed in the interview that he had been contacted by one of Wiggins’ coaches, fellow German Heiko Salzwedel, who asked Voigt about his own attempt and any advice that he may have.
“He asked what I did there and then, and he said they were optimistic Bradley would take it.”