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Pervis: I can go even faster

François Pervis suggested that he can go even faster in the kilometre time trial on the track and perhaps break the 56-second barrier.

The French sprinter smashed the previous record of compatriot Arnaud Tournant set in La Paz, Bolivia, while competing at the track World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico this weekend. Seven world records tumbled in different disciplines during the event, thanks to the speed and the 1,887m altitude of the velodrome.

“I’m amazed by what I did. It’s difficult to believe that I was so quick. I thought I could beat Arnaud’s record but not with that time. 56.3 is not 56.9,” he told French newspaper L’Equipe.

“I went two and a half seconds better, which is amazing, but we have to put this performance in context. You had to be in the right place at the right time. It happened to me. I was actually very surprised. I hesitated about using a bigger gear, going up a tooth and in the end I didn’t. I could have gone even faster. My leg speed was a lot faster than usual and so there was a margin of improvement. I think it’s possible to go below 56 seconds.”

The magic of the Mexico track

The powerful Frenchman confirmed that the perfect conditions of the Mexico track were a key factor and he combined them with a peak of strength and fitness.

“It’s simply an outstanding track. It’s perfectly matured with age, the wood works as it should do and is very dry. Pedaling at an altitude of 1800m altitude also helps, then on Saturday it was very hot (27 degrees C) and dry (only 30% moisture). We’re talking about ideal conditions. The design of the track also helps against the clock. The straights are long and the corners are very tight and very short. They’re tilted directly towards the opposite line, so you lose a lot less time in the corners,” Pervis said.

Pervis was not selected for the London 2012 Olympic Games; the sprinter’s slot went to Grégory Baugé, who won silver in the sprint and team sprint after coming back from a 12-month ban for missing anti-doping tests. However, he claims that he knew he would one day break the kilometre record.

"This decision left a wound that will never heal, but I ride my bike for me, not for others," said Pervis.

“I haven’t had an opportunity like this in the last 10 years, and I knew I had a chance to take it. My form was optimal, the track is fast and training methods and even the gears have evolved, too. The gear ratio Tournant used for his record are now used by juniors. I've always been a "kilométreur." I was the runner-up at junior Worlds, so I’ve always had this record in the back of my head. Convincing myself that it was possible was 50% of the job.”

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Stephen Farrand
Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.