The UCI Hour Record is notoriously difficult and fraught with pain, so it was no surprise when the time trial specialists at Sunday’s press conference after the team time trial World Championship appeared wary of committing to any further attempts.
After a long delay that was punctuated with laughter – some of it a bit nervous – from fellow competitors and the assembled journalists, Etixx-QuickStep’s Tony Martin said he will likely make his own attempt, but not next year.
“Sure, I will go for it,” Martin said after his pause. “But probably not next year with the Olympics as another big target. In ‘17, ‘18 maybe, somewhere around then. I’ll try it for sure one time. Once.”
Martin was sharing the podium with his Etixx-QuickStep team, which took second; Rohan Dennis of BMC, which won the event; and Alex Dowsett, whose Movistar team finished third. Both Dowsett and Dennis briefly held the record earlier this year until Bradley Wiggins set the current mark of 54.526km.
Dennis, who rode 52.491km during his record-breaking attempt in February, didn’t waste a lot of words in his response to the question.
“Not for a long time,” he said when asked about another attempt.
Dowsett, who in May eclipsed Dennis’ mark with his own 52.937km ride, had a similar answer.
“Not any time soon,” he said. “I’m going to concentrate next year on having a good road season, and then obviously Wiggins has set a huge benchmark at 54.5km so if I do go for it again I want to be confident I can beat that, and it will require a lot of preparation."
Dowsett said his Hour Record attempt took a lot out of his road season this year, and he’d like to refocus his attention back in that direction for the foreseeable future.
“I’d like to have a good winter on the road and then a good road season next year as well,” he said. “There’s going to be some big targets. And then I’ll ask Movistar to put another one on again at some point, I guess, but not in the near future I don’t think.”
Asked if he’d be more likely to make another attempt if Wiggins hadn’t set a new record, Dowsett had a cheeky answer.
“Well, I’d still have the record, so I wouldn’t necessarily go for it again, I guess,” he said, drawing a bit of laughter. “I mean Wiggo’s distance is big, so it would require a hell of a lot of work from the team and all the sponsors. You don’t just walk up and ride around the track for an hour. It takes months of preparation and a huge amount of investment.
“It’s not something you can take on lightly, especially with it beyond 54.5km now. That’s a huge ask for anyone, so I’m just going to focus on the road for now and then at some point I would like to have another crack in the future, but road will be my focus for now.”