Reigning Belgian and European time trial champion Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) will continue to concentrate on time trial victories next season, but says that he also wants to try his hand at getting away in more breakaways.
Since taking the bronze medal in the elite men's time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, in September – behind Australia's Rohan Dennis and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin – Campenaerts has also made clear his intention to try to break Bradley Wiggins' Hour Record of 54.526km, which was set in London in 2015.
Just three days after the Worlds TT, Campenaerts was at the velodrome in Grenchen, Switzerland, to make an all-out effort over half an hour – rather than the full hour – and recorded an average speed of 54.8kph, with the last four laps at 60 kph "to see what was left in the tank".
Clearly, riding that pace for half an hour is somewhat different to the extra effort required for a full-blown attempt on the record, which is why Campenaerts is dedicating the first two months of 2019 to a training camp that will, he hopes, get him up to speed.
He revealed last month that the camp was likely to be in Namibia – which Het Nieuwsblad reports is set to run from January 2-March 4 – ahead of an April attempt on the Hour Record at the high-altitude velodrome in Aguascalientes, in Mexico.
"I know from experience that training camps in Tenerife can be boring. You sit on a mountain for two months, and time can go by very slowly. Hence my choice to go to Namibia," he told HLN.be in October. "You need a good and stable climate to train a lot, which Namibia is perfect for."
While Campenaerts has pointed out that he has the full backing of his Lotto Soudal squad, the attempt on the Hour Record is still by no means certain.
"It's not yet set in stone," he told Het Nieuwsblad on Wednesday. "But the team is supporting my plans, having specifically signed me for the 2018 season as a time trial specialist."
The attempt would mean missing much of the spring Classics period, and Campenaerts doesn't want his ambitions on the road for next year to be affected by his focus on the track.
"Winning a time trial at WorldTour level [on the road] is still a big ambition, just as it was last year," he continued. "I've still not managed to achieve that. I've won two European time trial titles and a bronze medal at the World Championships, but a win in a time trial at a major race is still missing from my palmarès.
"I'd put that bronze medal at the Worlds over my two European titles. Champions' jerseys are important in cycling, and I love that European champion's jersey, but a World Championship medal is even more important," said Campenaerts, while also dreaming of what he might be able to achieve in Tokyo in 2020.
"I'd only have to equal my [Worlds] performance at the Tokyo Games and I'd have an Olympic medal," he said.
"I also want to try to get in more breakaways next season," the 27-year-old revealed.
"At the Vuelta, I think I proved that I have what it takes to be in the mix in road races," he said, recalling stage 12 of this year's Vuelta a España, when Campenaerts was part of an 18-man breakaway that stayed away, and finished fifth on the stage won by AG2R's Alex Geniez, "and so I'd like to work on that for next year."
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