Ellen van Dijk will target the UCI Hour Record on 23 May 2022 at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland, aiming to better the current record of 48.405km set by Great Britain’s Joscelin Lowden last autumn on the same track.
The Trek-Segafredo rider is the current world time trial champion and has been considering an attempt at the women’s Hour Record for several years. Van Dijk has years of track experience and was Scratch world champion in 2008. She won a first time trial world title in 2013, the Tour of Flanders in 2014 and has been a team time trial world champion four times.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very long time. The hour record is something that I have always said I wanted to do one day and now that day is finally here,” Van Dijk said.
“I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about doing it, a mix of excitement and nerves which is normal. You are always just on the edge with big challenges, and this is a huge challenge, so it is going to be exciting and frightening at the same time.”
“Joss also did it in Grenchen and that’s where I will attempt my hour record too. We chose the Velodrome Suisse as it is a very fast track and although attempting it in Mexico, at altitude, might have been even faster, it would have required a completely different preparation.”
The 35-year-old Van Dijk committed to attempting the Hour Record after winning the time trial world title in Belgium last September.
“We started talking about the hour record when I first joined Trek-Segafredo four years ago, but I knew it wasn’t the right time. I was still overcoming injuries and knew I wouldn’t be at my best. Now, however, I know I am ready to really challenge the current benchmark,” she said.
Van Dijk will continue to race on the road during the spring and then focus on specific training for the Hour Record. Trek is working on a track version of its Speed Concept time trial bike and Santini will create a special skin suit for Van Dijk.
“We are still in the process of getting everything prepared for the big day and, of course, I want to continue racing well through all the remaining Spring Classics. This means my focus has not been exclusively on the hour record but that will change by May,” she explained.
“What I am doing already is trying to train more and more on my time trial bike because I will need to hold my position for a very long time. I was at the wind tunnel on Monday and we’ve also done some track testing but the majority of that is still to be done in the coming weeks.”
Van Dijk has not yet set a specific target distance for her Hour Record attempt. That will come nearer the May date, as she finalises her equipment, power output and ride strategy.
“As we haven’t tested the full set up yet, I don’t know exactly what kind of watts I will need to achieve but the aim will just be to try to go as fast as I can for the full sixty minutes," she said.
“I don’t have a set distance in mind, I just want to break it in the first instance. Of course, it won’t be an easy task because I have a lot of respect for the record set by Joss [Lowden]. She did a really great job and set a high benchmark to reach, 48.4km, so it’s certainly going to be a very very tough hour.”
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