Jack Bobridge beats Chris Boardman’s “unbeatable” pursuit record
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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Jack Bobridge beats Chris Boardman’s “unbeatable” pursuit record

by Ben Atkins at 5:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track, National Championships
 
Australian does what no one thought possible under new regulations

jack bobridgeJack Bobridge has done what everyone considered impossible and beaten Chris Boardman’s 15-year-old record in the individual pursuit. The South Australian posted a time of 4:10.534, knocking more than half a second off Boardman’s time, set at the 1996 World Championships. Bobridge’s time was set during the qualification round of the Australian National Track Championships at the Dunc Gray Vélodrome in Sydney, which was the venue for the 2000 Olympic Games.

"I can't really explain it at the moment, I am still stunned,” Bobridge, who rides for Garmin-Cervélo, told Cycling Australia, “I didn’t think that [the record] was going to come for a long time, I certainly didn’t think it would come while I was on the track.

“To come around and see that on the board, I was honestly quite shocked,” he added. "I thought the clock had stopped a lap early, so I had to look at it a few times, but then I saw everyone going crazy, and then it started to get a little overwhelming,”

Bobridge’s time came in response to another incredible performance; Rohan Dennis, who recently signed for the Rabobank Continental team, posted a time of 4:13.399 in his qualification, which was by far the fastest time set since Boardman.

Boardman’s record, just like the Englishman’s hour record set that same year, was thought to be unbeatable under regulations subsequently brought in by the International Cycling Union (UCI), which prevent the ultra-low “superman” position he used. The mark of 4:11.114 was assumed to be one that would stand forever.

Recent best times under the revised position have not even threatened Boardman’s record; Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins set a time of 4:15.031 at the Beijing Olympics in 2008; compatriot Geraint Thomas lowered it by 16 thousandths of a second in October 2009 to set 4:15.015; Bobridge himself then lowered the non-superman record to 4:14.427 in last year's Australian Championships, but still the record seemed far out of reach.

Australia and Great Britain have a long history of rivalry in the pursuit, both individual and team events (as they have in many sports), and Bobridge’s new record sets up a potential battle between the two countries in the World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands next month.

Sadly, with the individual pursuit no longer part of the Olympic programme, apart from as one round of the Omnium, we will be denied a match up between the big rivals in London next year; it does spice things up nicely for a big clash in the team pursuit though.

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