199 Laps (pt4)

Before we move on, you should read the UCI’s press release from the 15th May 2014 below.

From now on, the Hour record can be beaten using any bicycle that complies with the rules governing bikes used in endurance competitions on the track. The new rules are less restrictive than those that, since 1st October 2000, have governed the technical specifications of bikes authorised to tackle the Hour record.

In parallel, the distinction between “Hour record” and “Best hour performance” has been abolished. This distinction was introduced on 1st October 2000 after the UCI had adopted (on 1st January 2000) a new Equipment Regulation defining the technical characteristics of bikes that could be used in competition, excluding the use of prototypes and introducing an approval procedure for any new technology. Backdating the new regulation, the UCI considered at the time that the last Hour record established with a bicycle in compliance (with the regulation it had just introduced) dated back to 1972 for men, when Eddy Merckx rode 49 km 431, and 1978 for women (Cornelia Van Oosten-Hage, 43 km 083). Consequently, all records established since then, up until and including the records of Chris Boardman (56 km 375) and Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (48 km 159) in 1996, received the new name “Best hour performance.”

According to the regulation in force from today, all successful attempts on the hour that respected the rules applicable at the time the record in question was achieved are considered “Hour records.” In the light of the current regulation, the records to be beaten today are those established by Ondrej Sosenka (49 km 700) for men and Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (46 km 065) for women, as these two athletes beat the Hour record using equipment which is still within the regulations currently applicable to track endurance events.

UCI President Brian Cookson commented: “This new rule is part of the modernisation of the UCI Equipment Regulation. Today there is a general consensus that equipment used in competition must be allowed to benefit from technological evolution where pertinent. This kind of evolution is positive for cycling generally and for the Hour record in particular. This record will regain its attraction for both the athletes and cycling fans.”

In order to be validated, any attempt at the record must be organised with the agreement of the UCI, which will appoint a Commissaire and other officials who must be present at the chosen velodrome.

UCI Communications Services

Previous Hour Record Blogs for reference

The Protagonists

I’m going to choose 4 riders, all of whom can ‘relatively’ easily break the 49.7km record on a bike built to meet UCI track pursuit rules. Recent smasher of the ’10’ record, Alex Dowsett, suddenly interested Bradley Wiggins, grumpy drop bar lover Fabian Cancellara & the man who looks like he destroys equipment, Tony Martin.


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If any rider is a clear example of what’s possible after making a decision to leave Sky, including a glimpse at the talent they may be using for less than ideal domestique uses, it’s Alex Dowsett. He has flourished since joining Movistar & is now looking to be a little quicker than Brad in domestic TT’s, which in itself means nothing, but does hint at what he’s capable of in the future. Wiggins has tested his form in ’10s’ in the past, prior to riding the Tour, but Alex has smashed his competition records & I’m expecting him to perform very well in the penultimate Tour stage, a 54km TT, that should take about an hour? If he outperforms everybody there, it wouldn’t be too tough a step to expect him to set an Hour record soon afterwards, he has plenty of track pedigree.


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We know that Wiggins was training on the track at Manchester on June 4th, see this blog from @familytandem for info. From the photo, Wiggins is on a GB track bike, with tri-bars, this leads me to a couple of ideas. Brad has no intention of riding the Tour, that’s a media frenzy that he’s not interested in this year, he’s preparing for the Commonwealth Games track events in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the presence of Shane Sutton confirms this to me. I’m also looking with quite a bit of hope, that he’ll be using this opportunity to test things out for an hour record. Can we safely assume that he’s doing a 6 to 8 week track phase, forgetting about preparing for France in July. Would provide plenty of status & media attention for the Games, along with them being included in the UCI calendar, could points be available for Brad to ride the next Worlds. Is he genuinely becoming a track rider again?


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After recently going in a bit of a huff after the UCI announced the rules he knew were changing (well if we knew..), he reckons he’s not interested anymore & wants to break Merckx’s record on a a Merckx style bike. I’d say nobody is stopping you Fabs, do it on a drop bar track bike if you like, that’s UCI compliant too, but get it done before the others turn up on their pursuit bikes. I think we’ll only see him attempt it after it’s been broken a couple of times & he’s sure he can get it. I get the impression he’d either want to smash it & put it on the shelf for a while, or not at all.


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The unknown, he’s not suggested he’s interested, but he could certainly set an incredible marker to any current riders. The only thing that would worry me about Mr Martin is his style. The big gear crunching full body effort he uses so well isn’t going to work quite as well on the track, he can monster the Hour, but he’ll be using more energy keeping that bike on the black line than the others.

The Gist Of It

The rules are open now, anybody can go for it whenever they like. Let’s hope we get another set of battles on the velodromes & re-configure The Hour as a major prize in world cycling.


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