Dowsett's assault on Wiggins' UCI Hour Record gains momentum

While most professional riders are still in the throes of a well-deserved off season, Alex Dowsett has been working flat-out on plans to regain the UCI Hour Record from Bradley Wiggins.

Dowsett announced his intention to break the record for a second time last month and, while no date has yet been confirmed, the Movistar rider has already begun testing at the Manchester Velodrome, the venue at which he is hoping to better Wiggins' benchmark of 54.526 kilometres.

"We've made the announcement of intent and that's very much still there," Dowsett told Cyclingnews from his home outside of London.

"Right now we're working on pulling everything together and making it happen. Everyone is working flat-out but we can't make a formal announcement because not everything is in place yet."

Dowsett set a new record in May 2015 with a distance of 52.397 kilometres, beating the then record set by Rohan Dennis. Dowsett admitted after his attempt that he and his team produced a relatively conservative effort in order to shepherd home a winning time and limit the risks of blowing up. A more confident Dowsett now believes that Wiggins' record is beatable.

"We've done some testing and I am capable. It's in me to do upwards of 54.5 and maybe push 55 but with air pressure you just don't know what will happen," he said.

"We'll ride to a schedule and try to beat it by the smallest of margins but now that I've done one I know the feelings and sensations to expect. If I'm capable I might be able to open up the taps with ten to fifteen minutes to go instead of five. Obviously the stakes are much higher at the moment with the mark Wiggins has set so it might to just be case of beating it by the smallest of margins, if I can even do that. I think it's beatable and we wouldn't be working on trying to beat it if we didn't think I was capable. It is in me."

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The nature of such a ride ensures that no stone can be left unturned and the backroom staff around Dowsett are also working around the clock to ensure that the British time trial champion has everything he needs in order to produce the required power.

"It's six laps and that's a lot," he said when comparing his first ride against Wiggins' record.

"I did 358 Watts and I was capable of between 400 and 420. There's the advances in the skinsuit that Endura have made, and that should get me perhaps another 10 Watts over the previous suit so we're looking at maybe 50 or 60 Watts in the bank. That's significant but after the Worlds I went straight to Manchester and did a series of tests and the results were good.

"In terms of my bike I would presume Canyon would make a new bike. They have a new Speedmax. My bike is based off the old Speedmax and the new one is significantly better. I'd be content with anything from them really."

For now the biggest question surrounds Dowsett's race programme and where the Hour Record sits within a busy schedule. The first half of the season would be the natural choice for an attempt but Dowsett and Movistar have yet to confirm a date at the Manchester velodrome.

"I'd like to get some stage races in before doing it. I sat down after the first attempt and wrote down a list of things that we could have done better and one of them was dropping in some stage races before the attempt. So we're considering even maybe doing it after a Grand Tour but I don't know yet. That's a bit of a risk."

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.