Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) became the first man to ride the kilometre time trial in under a minute at sea level during the Manchester round of the Track World Cup on Sunday. Glaetzer clocked a time of 59.970 seconds during qualifying in the men's kilometre, and then proceeded to win the gold medal by posting a time of 1:00.081 in the final.
The sub-one-minute kilometre had previously only ever been achieved at high altitude. Arnaud Tournant was the first rider to achieve the landmark when he travelled specifically to La Paz in Bolivia for a tilt at the world record in October 2001. Taking advantage of the thinner air at 3,600 metres above sea level, the Frenchman set a record of 58.875 seconds.
The outright world record for the kilometre now stands at 56.303 seconds after Tournant’s fellow countryman François Pervis established the mark at an altitude of 1,880 metres at the Track World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico in December 2013.
Glaetzer expressed surprise at dipping inside the one-minute mark at the weekend, although he added that it was a long-term objective.
"That ride even felt incredible throughout. That time was something I was hoping to achieve in around a year's time so to get it today was amazing," Glaetzer said in a statement released by Cycling Australia.
"Having riders like Sir Chris Hoy and Shane Kelly writing the history for the Kilo, I'm really glad I can put my fingerprint on the event also."
The previous quickest sea level mark in the men's kilometre was the 1:00.042 recorded by Joachim Eilers in London last year.
The 25-year-old Glaetzer is building towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where he will hope to improve on his near misses at the Rio Games a year ago. He took fourth place in the both the individual and team sprints in Brazil, and placed 10th in the keirin.
Glaetzer took bronze in the individual sprint in the Manchester World Cup on Saturday, and lined up in both the kilometre and the keirin on Sunday. Shortly after securing gold in the kilometre, he placed fourth in the keirin final.
"Doing the second kilo was tough with two keirins in the legs also but you just need to get up on the track and do it regardless of how you feel," Glaetzer said. “I felt pretty good through the race considering, I stuck to my race plan and held on for the ride. The final hurt much more than the qualifying though, I was in a world of hurt right before the keirin final.
"The tight turn around was brutal. There's no way around it, I was knackered. It's an interesting mindset you are in at that point, you're in a daze, your legs are wrecked but you just get up and go again."
Although the kilometre no longer features on the Olympic Games schedule, Glaetzer will target a gold medal in the event in the 2018 Track World Championships in Apeldoorn and the Commonwealth Games, which take place in the Gold Coast in April.
"The media obviously give it some attention and, while there is always pressure to perform, we love competing on home soil,” Glaetzer told AFP. "It makes a change from travelling halfway across the world at this time of year, it will be nice to race in Australia."