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Ashton Lambie takes the 4km record below four minutes

TOPSHOT US Ashton Lambie competes in the Mens individual pursuit during the UCI track cycling World Championship at the velodrome in Berlin on February 27 2020 Photo by Odd ANDERSEN AFP Photo by ODD ANDERSENAFP via Getty Images
Ashton Lambie riding the Individual Pursuit at the UCi Track World Cycling Championships in Berlin in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Ashton Lambie has set a new – at this point unofficial – world record for the four kilometre standing start, taking the mark for the pursuit under four minutes for the first time. The rider from the United States stopped the clock at 3:59.930 at the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico.

The record has been steadily dropping over the years, shedding nearly ten seconds over the last decade with Jack Bobridge's 4:10.534 in 2011 taken down to 4:01.934 in 2020 by Filippo Ganna.

Lambie – inspired by the first man to break the 4 minute mark for the mile in 1954, Roger Bannister – decided he wanted not only to beat the time set by Ganna but also to be the one that broke that sub-4 minute barrier on the boards. He said when announcing his attempt that the steady lowering of the record had made it “less of a dream and, I believe, more of an inevitability” that the bar would be reset to under that four minute mark.

“Speechless,” said Lambie on Instagram after delivering the time. “Thank you to everyone who made this dream a reality. 3:59.930”

It is not the first time Lambie has broken the record, as he was among those riders who have continuously lowered the mark in the previous decade, taking it down a number of time to reach 4:05.423 in September 2019.

Ganna however, has been pulling the records below 4:05 since November of 2019, and when he dropped the mark to 4:01.934 at the 2020 Berlin Track World Championships in qualifying, Lambie was the nearest rider to his time.  The American qualified 1.706 slower and then in the gold medal race Ganna came out on top.  

The rider from Nebraska, who came from gravel racing, may now have bettered Ganna's world record time at the Aguascalientes velodrome – which sits at an altitude of 1,800 metres and is a favoured venue for record attempts – but it wasn’t all smooth sailing in the run up. “So I actually tried yesterday and poorly rode a 4:02,” said Lambie on Instagram. 

However, before Lambie was helped off the bike and eased to the ground after Wednesday’s attempt, which was shown live on Instagram, it was clear by the cheers and triumphant arm up in the air that he had hit the target.