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Campenaerts 'convinced' Dan Bigham will break his Hour Record

One for the record books: Victor Campenaerts proudly shows off the new Hour Record mark of 55.089km, set at the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico in April, 2019
Victor Campenaerts holds the current UCI Hour Record (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Victor Campenaerts has held the UCI Hour Record for more than three years, but he suspects his reign will come to an end this week.

In fact, the Belgian says he is "quite convinced" that Dan Bigham will surpass his benchmark of 55.089km when he takes to the boards of the Grenchen velodrome in Switzerland on Friday lunchtime. 

Campenaerts, who broke Bradley Wiggins' four-year record in Mexico in April 2019, believes Bigham's involvement with Ineos Grenadiers will give him the edge. Bigham is not a full-time professional rider but works as a performance engineer for the British team, who fall under the umbrella of a wider Ineos sporting project that has also seen a successful attempt at a sub-two-hour marathon by Eliud Kipchoge.

"I'm quite convinced he will break the record. Ineos is a serious company and they wouldn't support an attempt if they did not think it would be successful," Campenaerts told Cyclingnews.

"We will see. I don't know Dan at all, I don't know what his level is at the moment. I just know he's very smart and very much into aerodynamics, and when Ineos support an attempt, I'm convinced it will be serious."

This will be Bigham's second Hour Record attempt in less than a year, although it'll be the first eligible for the official UCI world record, given he is now part of the governing body's anti-doping pool. That was not the case last October when he covered 54.723km in Grenchen, which would not have beaten Campenaerts' record even if eligible, but still saw him break Wiggins' British record. 

Bigham has spent his career dabbling in time trialling and track racing while also using his academic background to take part in a range of projects, from his own Wattshop component company to consultancy work for the likes of Jumbo-Visma, the Danish federation and now, on a full-time basis, Ineos Grenadiers. 

"Dan is not a well-known rider, but he has a lot of experience on the track and he's an expert in marginal gains," Campenaerts said. 

"Back in the day, you could only break the Hour Record if you won the Tour de France but since the new rules in 2014 it has become something totally different. It's all about marginal gains, which I benefited from, but Dan is already way ahead of my levels of aerodynamics.

"Dan already did an attempt, he came very close, and now he's working for Ineos 24/7. So without doing a better physical performance than last time, he can go further."

The question is, how far?

"I don't think it will be a close call with my record," Campenaerts said. "I think he'll at least put in one lap on me, so at least 250 metres. It's also quite possible he will get closer to 56km."

Campenaerts is calm in offering a prediction that would see a world record taken from his hands, but he's happy with the run he's had.

"I've had the record for quite some time. Records are there to be broken," he said. "I'll be looking forward to watching it."

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