Last month, Britain’s Alex Dowsett set a new benchmark for the UCI one-hour record, riding 52.937 km in 60 minutes. At the time, it was the latest in a spate of broken records, coming at an ever-increasing rate since rules changed governing how the one-hour record could be attempted. Then came news that Bradley Wiggins — “Wiggo” to his friends, not to mention most of the cycling world — would be the next to attempt it last Sunday.
And he smashed it.
To the thunderous encouragement of a full crowd of spectators at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark, the winner of the 2012 Tour de France completed 218 laps — a bit shy of the 221-lap goal he’d set for himself, or 55.25 km, but still six laps ahead of Dowsett’s 212-lap performance in May.
“I’m just glad it’s done,” Wiggins said, as reported by the BBC. “It was torturous.”
As reported before Wiggins made the record-breaking attempt, the track and road riding champ has become the fifth cyclist in the last nine months to break the record. The surge in hungry competitors making a go at the UCI one-hour record — something seen as one of the purest, simplest challenges in professional cycling — most recently dates back to 2014, when the organization’s rules governing equipment were changed. Previously, the pared-down gear used by Eddy Merckx was the standard. Today, however, riders are able to use track bikes with a few restrictions, opening up more opportunities for challengers to give the “hour” a shot.
With his record-breaking ride, Wiggins joins the select ranks of cyclists who have managed to conquer both the one-hour record and win the Tour de France. Merckx, Fausto Coppi, Luien Petit-Breton, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain also occupy that list.
“That’s the closest I have ever come to what it’s like to have a baby,” Wiggins said.