The Lotto Soudal rider has sacrificed the winter and the first part of his 2019 season for his Hour Record attempt, convinced that riding at altitude on the Aguascalientes indoor velodrome in Mexico can give him an edge and help him set a new Hour Record.
Campenaerts' record attempt is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CET to maximise attention at home in Belgium, where it will be broadcast live on Sporza. Cyclingnews will have full coverage of his attempt to break the sport's blue ribbon record.
"The moment of truth is getting closer. My body is totally ready for it. Mentally, I am pretty relaxed due to the perfect preparation," Campenaerts said in a final message via the Lotto Soudal team.
"The tough training sessions are over; now it is important to still stimulate the muscles a bit. In terms of nutrition, it is time for carbo-loading, which means eating as many carbohydrates as possible.
"My schedule is minutely planned. Meanwhile, my body has completely adapted to the special biorhythm: getting up at 5:00 and going to sleep at 20:00 is very easy now. One more day and the time has come. I am ready."
Campenaerts spent two months training at altitude in Namibia and then worked on his endurance at Tirreno-Adriatico, where he won the final 10km time trial. He travelled to Mexico in early April to acclimatise and polish his pacing and track riding technique needed for the 219 laps he will need to cover to set a new record.
Bike sponsor Ridley have made a special version of their Arena time trial bike that allows Campenaerts use his flat-back road time trial position.
Campenaerts has been joined by Lotto Soudal head coach Kevin De Weert, key sponsors, friends and his father Gino, who has written a song about the Hour Record attempt called 'Full Gazz'.
The Lotto Soudal team have also created the #Victor2VictorY hashtag, with teammates and friends using it to show their support. Ridley replaced the 'Y' with Campenaerts trademark moustache on the Lotto Soudal bike frames in Paris-Roubaix.
The 18th attempt
Campenarts will be the 18th rider to target the men's Hour Record since the UCI modified its rules to allow for use of modern aerodynamic equipment and aero bars. There have been nine official attempts to beat Wiggins mark, three by Dane Martin Toft Madsen, two by his compatriot Mikkel Bjerg, and one by American Tom Zirbel, Swiss riders Micah Gross and Marc Dubois and Dutchman Dion Beukeboom.
Bjerg came the closest aged just 19, covering a remarkable 53.73km and setting a new Danish record in Odense, Denmark. He is planning another attempt later in 2019 after seeing if Campenaerts sets a new distance at altitude.
The Aguascalientes velodrome is at an altitude of 1,800m, with the reduced air pressure making it one of the fastest tracks in the world. Vittoria Bussi set the women's Hour Record there in September 2018, covering 48.007km and bettering the mark set by Evelyn Stevens in 2016.
Campenaerts has slept in an altitude tent in Belgium and Mexico, replicating an altitude of 3,000m to boost his red blood count and aerobic ability.
Wiggins has encouraged Campenaerts to try to beat the distance he set in London in 2015, when atmospherical conditions were not perfect and there was no altitude advantage.
"I'm certainly not a better rider than Wiggins," Campenaerts admitted recently, "but he didn't do his record in ideal conditions, I need the best possible conditions to beat Wiggins' Hour Record.
"It would be fantastic to take the record from Wiggins and get on a list that includes Eddy Merckx, among others."
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