Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) expressed interest in making a run at the hour record now that the UCI has reversed its previous decision and will allow competitors to use bikes that comply with rules for endurance competition on the track. The ruling, which came out earlier this week, allows aero bars, disc wheels and aero helmets.
The UCI ruled in 2000 that any new hour record attempts had to be done using a traditional bike, much like the one Eddy Merckx used in 1972. The change canceled records set by Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman, who used the Superman aerodynamic position.
"It kind of begs the question: Why did they change it in the first place?," Wiggins asked Saturday following stage 7 at the Tour of California. "We've lost a decade now of the hour record. It's a shame that they changed it.
"We can all blame Chris Boardman for that with his superman position," the 2012 Olympic time trial champion joked. "It's a shame, really, that we've missed maybe [Fabian] Cancellara doing it five or six years ago. So it's good I guess that they've gone back now."
When it made the change back in 2000, the UCI backdated its record books, ruling that Eddy Merckx's record of 49.431km in 1972 and Cornelia Van Oosten-Hage women's record of 43.083km in 1978 were the legal hour Records. All records established since then with non-conforming bikes, including the records of Chris Boardman [56.375km] and Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli [48.159km] in 1996, received the new name of "Best hour performance."
Under the new rules, the hour records to beat are those established by Ondrej Sosenka [49.700km] for men and by Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel [46.065km] for women. Sosenka and Zijlaard-Van Moorsel beat the hour records using equipment that is within the regulations currently applicable to track endurance events.
Wiggins said he "never really considered" attempting the hour record before the recent change, but now it piques his interest.
"I'd like to do it," he said. "For me, the last person to do it in that position was Tony Rominger and [Miguel] Indurain. And I've always said that I'd love to go for it just to compare myself to Indurain purely over an hour. So I would consider it now, actually."
Indurain set an our record of 53.040km in 1994, beating Obree's mark at the time. Tony Rominger then broke the hour record twice in 1994. He used the Bordeaux velodrome to ride 53.832km and then 55.291km.
When encouraged by a British member of the press to use the Manchester velodrome if he attempts the record, Wiggins said he'd be inclined to go to the new velodrome in Darby.
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.
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