Cancellara world hour record attempt in 2014 could kick off a new wave of attempts
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cancellara world hour record attempt in 2014 could kick off a new wave of attempts

by Shane Stokes at 7:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
 
Multiple world champion preparing for attempt in Manchester, Mexico or Portugal

Fabian CancellaraOne of the most historic of cycling’s records could be set for a new flurry of activity after Fabian Cancellara indicated that he will indeed aim for the world hour record in 2014.

The track test of man against clock has been dormant for the past eight years, ever since the Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka beat the previous record set by Chris Boardman. The Briton had covered 49.441 kilometres on October 27th 2000; Sosenka, who was a relatively unknown rider and who later tested positive for methamphetamine, covered 49.700 metres on July 19th 2005.

The record has lost its lustre from the times when riders such as Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Francesco Moser tortured themselves for sixty minutes to pass the previous best marks.

During the 1990s Boardman, Graeme Obree, Miguel Indurain and Tony Rominger all set new bests, but momentum was taken out of the bids when the UCI set serious limits on the technology that could be used.

While that hacked into the speeds riders were able to achieve and was a clearer test of man against man [Boardman used a bike that was similar to that employed by Merckx, in terms of standard frame tubing and wheel profile], it also meant that the innovation of the bike industry was no longer a factor.

With less publicity value available for companies in designing record-beating machines, record attempts lost some of their lustre.

Now, with Cancellara aiming to set a new best mark, it is hoped that this will prompt other big names to also try for the hour.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Cancellara, his current RadioShack Leopard manager Luca Guercilena and others will meet in Durbuy in Belgium on Tuesday and begin working on the project.

Guercilena explained what will initially happen. “First of all, with engineers from Trek we will look at the materials, then we will evaluate the right time to try. Ideally, immediately after the peak condition; there are are three weeks of adaptation to the specific track.”

He has identified what he believes are two ideal times, in terms of Cancellara being in top form. “There are two periods; after the spring Classics, or after the first of the two Grand Tours that Fabian has planned. The track must be as smooth as possible. So far we have not made specific tests, but the technicians’ opinion is that there are three quickest velodromes.”

He said that these are Manchester in Britain, Aguascalientes in Mexico and Anadia in Portugal. Grenchen in Switzerland is also mentioned, but has not been evaluated completely.

As regards the two Grand Tours that Cancellara will target next year, La Gazzetta indicates that the most likely is the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, or possible the Tour de France and Vuelta.

Cancellara is undoubtedly one of the best-ever riders against the clock. He has won four world time trial championships, multiple stages in Grand Tours and was also Olympic champion in 2008. However in recent years he has focussed more on the Classics, with Tony Martin taking over the mantle as the best rider against the clock.

Another who has been linked to a possible record attempt is Bradley Wiggins, who finished second to Martin and one place ahead of Cancellara in this year’s world championships. He has a far more established track pedigree, with numerous world championship and Olympic titles to his name.

The publicity that an attempt by Cancellara will generate will make it more likely that others will also try to set a new best against the clock over sixty torturous minutes. That could bring in a new era of the top names in the sport trying to secure their place in history in the velodrome, years after Coppi, Anquetil and others did likewise

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