Joscelin Lowden set the new women’s UCI Hour Record in 48.405 kilometres at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland on Thursday. The British rider, who races for Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur, beat the previous record of 48.007km held by Italian Vittoria Bussi since 2018.
“I’m relieved. It think I was a bit dramatic and I was really worrying to the extreme, a lot of self doubt, and actually, it wasn’t that bad,” Lowden said, who set the record just days after competing at the UCI Road World Championships in Flanders, Belgium.
“[The worrying started] when I came back from altitude at the beginning of September. You start to question the preparation for it, question why I put it off the back of the road World Championships; three races, a lot of people said that wasn’t good preparation for an Hour Record. They weren’t wrong, but the point was, it was enough to do what I needed to do and what I wanted to do. I’m pleased with how it went and that I pushed through with my plan.
“There was a point where I thought, ‘should I push it or play it safe?’ I think that I went somewhere in the middle.”
Lowden started her efforts with what she called a somewhat conservative, yet fast pace, holding roughly 48.236 kph for the first 30 minutes and was consistently between 10 to 17 seconds ahead of the previous record.
She increased her pace to just above 48.300 kph as she hit the beginning of the last 20 minutes, and then again, as she reached 15 minutes to go sitting at 24 seconds ahead of the previous record.
As she entered the final phase, Lowden accelerated her speeds to 48.398 kph in the final 10 minutes, and was then 26 seconds faster than the previous record, almost assuring herself as the new women’s UCI Hour Record holder.
Although her shoulders began to rock back and forth, signalling the beginning of some fatigue, she continued to push and accelerate to 48.404 kph and then 48.407 as she passed Bussi’s previous record distance. Lowden continued to press on and completed her own hour in 48.406km, which was then adjusted down to 48.405km, and more than 300 metres further than Bussi.
Lowden had unofficially broken the previous record of 48.007km, held by Bussi and set at altitude in Mexico in 2018. She managed 48.160km in that ride in a training simulation held at the Manchester Velodrome in February.
There have been five attempts at the men’s UCI Hour Record during the previous two years – including Victor Campenaerts' 55.098-kilometre record in 2019. However, the women's UCI Hour Record has not been attempted since Bussi. Previous to that, the record was held by Evelyn Stevens at 47.980km in February 2016, and before that, Bridie O'Donnell at 46.882km in January 2016.
“I wanted to demonstrate that the women’s side of the sport is the same as the men’s. We are up there competing at the same level and doing the same sort of things and putting on the same sort of entertaining races. Doing something like this helps close that gap to the number of men trying to break the Hour Record,” Lowden said.
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