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Lap time review shows where Dowsett's Hour Record attempt fell away

Dowsett
(Image credit: MC Digital Media Ltd)

After a strong start and fast opening laps Alex Dowsett's attempt at reclaiming the World Hour Record ultimately fell short of the 55.089km benchmark set by Victor Campanaerts in 2019, as well as the British record held by Dan Bigham with a distance of 54.723km.

Dr Xavier Disley, aerodynamics expert and founder of Aerocoach, the company that supplied Dowsett's aero bars and golden chainring, has taken to Twitter with a scattergraph and brief analysis of Dowsett's progress through the 218-lap ride, highlighting a clear point at which the record began to slip away. 

Ahead of the attempt, Dowsett explained his pacing strategy would be to simply match Campanaerts' effort: "I'll ride to Victor's schedule, or the lap times required to break Victor's hour record," the Briton said. 

"And then, whereas last time I didn't let off the leash until five minutes to go, this time because I've done one now, I know that if I'm in a good place, I can start nudging it up with 20 minutes to go,"

It appears Dowsett stuck to the strategy, as Disley's graphic shows the Briton holding a pace of 55.2km/h - following a hot start which saw him peak at 56.9km/h. 

If he had sustained this pace for the full hour, the record would have broken by almost half a lap of the Aquascalientes Velodrome. 

However, at the 150 lap mark, Dowsett's average pace can be seen to tumble and the lap times grew. A clear downward trend is seen between around lap 140 and 160, before the Briton's began to fight back. Subsequent laps hovered between 53 and 54km/h, bringing the average speed down to below that of Campanaerts.

Dowsett's ride has been uploaded to Strava, although there is an unfortunate lack of data attached for us to dig into. The obvious assumption is that Dowsett's power dropped off at this point, potentially coupled with less positional control, which would have caused an aerodynamic penalty. 

The final 20 laps saw Dowsett build back up the effort as the end came into sight, with the penultimate lap once again outpacing Campanaerts's record. However the damage had been done to Dowsett's record hopes. 

With a final distance of 54.555km, Dowsett beat his previous record-breaking ride of 52.937km but he is now third on the leaderboard for distance covered in an hour. 

The official UCI leaderboard will place him second because Bigham's second-placed ride is technically unverified as he was not part of the Registered Testing Pool, the UCI’s anti-doping system in which riders have to provide whereabouts information and build Biological Passport programmes.

Despite coming up short, Dowsett remained upbeat after the attempt, stating the biggest failure would be to have never tried

He has achieved his goal of raising awareness for the Haemophilia Society, as well as more than £35,000 in donations - a figure which continues to rise. 

Dowsett’s Just Giving page can be found here for anyone wishing to make a donation.

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Josh Croxton

Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.