Italy's Filippo Ganna has set his sights on the UCI Hour Record after twice smashing the men's individual pursuit world record during the Minsk World Cup on Sunday, with the four-minute barrier also now within reach.
The 23-year-old Italian set a time of 4:04.252 in qualifying on Sunday morning to beat the mark of 4:05.423 set by the USA's Ashton Lambie. He then broke his own record by clocking a remarkable 4:02.647 in the final.
The Team Ineos rider will be the cornerstone of the Italian team pursuit squad at next summer's Tokyo Olympics and wants to ride a Grand Tour in 2020 to give him the base to build an Hour Record attempt.
"Yeah, I want to go for it. If the Hour Record was just an idea, now it's an objective," Ganna told La Gazzetta dello Sport as he savoured his new pursuit record and looked to the future.
"Before going for it, I need the right endurance and so I need to ride a Grand Tour. I really want to do it, but it's up to them," he added, referring to Team Ineos.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ganna is likely to ride a Grand Tour in 2020, with the Giro d'Italia his preferred choice, while the Vuelta a España remains another option.
Ganna won a bronze medal at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire, finishing behind Rohan Dennis and Remco Evenepoel in the rolling 54km time trial from Northallerton to Harrogate.
During his first season with Team Ineos, Ganna enjoyed a solid road campaign, winning the Italian time trial title and stages at Tour La Provence and the BinckBank Tour. He suffered in the cobbled Classics but worked hard when needed.
"Even if someone has tried to put me in a box and say I'm only a track rider, I showed at the World Championships that I'm a decent road rider, too," Ganna pointed out.
Breaking the four-minute barrier
Ganna is the first Italian to hold the individual pursuit world record since Andrea Colinelli in 1996, with La Gazzetta dello Sport suggesting his record is one of the best Italian performances of the 2019 season behind Alberto Bettiol's Tour of Flanders victory and Elia Viviani's European road race title.
Viviani suggested that Ganna's physiology means he was born to be the fastest individual pursuiter in the world. Italian national coach Marco Villa is convinced that Ganna can go even faster and break the four-minute barrier for the individual pursuit.
Lambie’s record of 4:05.423 was achieved at an altitude of more than 2,500m at the Pan-American Championships in Bolivia, while conditions in Minsk, which lies 280m above sea level, were not perfect.
"If he went to altitude now he'd break through the four-minute wall," Villa told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We knew he could do this record because his time of 4:07:456 (set at sea level at the World Championships in Pruszków) was, in calculation, better than the American's time."
Before any Hour Record attempt, Villa hopes Ganna can help Italy win a team pursuit medal in Tokyo.
"I'm sure he'll lift the whole team and lift our ambitions. We've got to use him as best as we can because we still don't know Filippo's full potential. Now we've got to aim for the team pursuit world record and not only a medal.