Campenaerts gives Dowsett 50-50 chance of breaking his Hour Record

Campenaerts proudly shows off the new Hour Record mark of 55.089km (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Victor Campenaerts has given Alex Dowsett a ’50-50’ chance of breaking his UCI Hour Record, suggesting he would not look to reclaim it if it does fall in Mexico on Wednesday. 

Campenaerts set the current benchmark of 55.089 kilometres in April 2019, finally bettering the mark set in 2015 by Bradley Wiggins, who himself dispossessed Dowsett after just a month. 

Dowsett will make the second attempt of his career on Wednesday evening at the same Aguascalientes velodrome where Campenaerts tasted success two and a half years ago. 

"I think it’s a 50-50 per cent chance that he can break my record," Campenaerts said in a video published on Monday. "I think the biggest benefit Alex has over me is that he already had the Hour Record before. He already did an attempt and the full preparation.

"I prepared for the Hour Record very well but by doing it all I learned some things that I would do differently. That’s a big advantage Alex has – that he has the experience."

Campenaerts also made the point that Dowsett’s attempt is an independent venture. He has the support of his team, Israel Start-Up Nation, but they are not directly involved in the attempt, meaning he has been free to test and select equipment that he deems fastest, rather than using fully sponsor-compliant material.

"Technology hasn’t been standing still. Everything goes forward," Campenaerts, who made his attempt using Lotto Soudal kit and equipment, argued. 

"Tyres are getting faster, frames are getting more aero, suits are getting faster, you have faster chain rings, raster chain lubes. All marginal gains but those margins are all very important in the end if you want to break an Hour Record.

"There are also new rules. Alex can ride with aero shoe covers, which I wasn’t allowed, though that’s only a small advantage."

Campenaerts’ main case for the other 50 per cent was based on the idea that he is, on paper, a superior time triallist.

“When I broke the Hour Record I was fresh off Tirreno-Adriatico, and I won the TT there in a strong field - everyone was there. I was going very well at the time,” he said. 

“Alex has not had the same results in the WorldTour as I had in that moment, which is in my favour, you’d say. I think the last real high-level TT that Alex won was in the 2013 Giro d’Italia, but he has always been in the game, and the level of time trialling has been going up every year, so I’m sure Alex’s TT game is better now than when the broke the record in 2015.”

Campenaerts described himself as “excited”, “nervous”, but “not scared” as he prepares to watch the attempt with a beer and a bowl of fries. He would be happy to see his record tumble but, in contrast to statements he made a year ago when Dowsett first revealed his plans he suggested he wouldn’t look to make another attempt. 

“If he breaks it, I’m happy for him. Records are there to be broken, and Alex is a nice guy. I also know what it would mean to him to break the record, so I would be happy for him," Campenaerts said.

“I don’t think I’d go back after him - not on short notice anyway - because of changes in my career. I think I lost a lot of my time trial abilities. It would be already hard to break my own record, so if Alex breaks it, I will just cheer hard for him, congratulate him, and not go back after him.”

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