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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Friday, October 31, 2014

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Matthias Brändle Breaks World Hour Record

World Hour Record from the beginning

That didn't take long. Once the UCI authorized the use of aero equipment in the World Hour Record, first Jens Voigt exceeded Ondrej Sosenka's World Hour Record of 49.700 kilometers (acquired in 2005 on a normal track bike with no aero equipment) by a huge 1,415 meters and now Austrian rider Matthias Brändle added another 742 meters to bring the record to 51.852 kilometers.

The new rules allow a rider to use whatever is legal in a track pursuit race, including aero bars and disc wheels. I am sure this is just the start. Surely more riders will want to take advantage of a moment before some master time trialist puts the World Hour Record out of reach for a long time as Eddy Merckx did in 1972. Merckx's non-aero record stood until 2000 when Chris Boardman broke it by 9 meters. Sosenka added just 259 meters and that withstood challenge until the rules were changed.

It's a shame the UCI changed the rules. Before, there were two records, one with a regular track bike that would allow us to compare Ercole Baldini, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx. Then there was a test using the most advanced aero equipment, called "Best Human Effort".

Looking for publicity and attention the UCI changed the Hour Record rules. The UCI succeeded in creating interest in the record at the cost of making it far less useful.

From the UCI's web site:

Austrian cyclist Matthias Brändle broke the UCI Hour Record at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, on Thursday evening.

The rider from IAM Cycling covered the distance of 51.852 km, an improvement of 742 metres on Jens Voigt’s performance (51.110 km) of September 18th in Granges, Switzerland.

Almost 25 years of age, Matthias Brändle, three times Austrian Champion in the time trial, now enters the pantheon of prestigious holders of the record, alongside famous riders such as Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Francesco Moser.

His predecessor Voigt, a German rider with the Trek Factory team, held the record for just five weeks after breaking the long-standing mark of 49.700 km, established in 2005 by the Czech Republic’s Andrej Sosenka.

The two latest attempts, carried out in quick succession, are the result of the modernisation of the UCI Hour Record rules in May this year. The new rules authorise all bikes which can be used for endurance track events.

The revival of interest in the UCI Hour Record was confirmed this evening by the presence of media from across Europe in Aigle and full grandstands obliging many people to stand. In addition, the UCI YouTube channel attracted an excellent audience (nearly 15,000 viewers at the same time), while nearly 2,000 tweets used the official hashtag #UCIHourRecord.

After his attempt, Matthias Brändle said it had been extremely difficult both physically and mentally: “In the first few minutes I just wanted to get on with it but then it became more complicated. Between 30 and 50 minutes was the hardest and I asked myself ‘why did I choose to do this kind of event?’ Then in the last 10 minutes, it’s the mental that takes over and with the amazing crowd behind me it was easier. Now I am really happy.

“I think it was good that the UCI updated the rules (for the UCI Hour Record). It meant I was able to use almost the same bike as I used (for the time trial) at the Road World Championships. It’s a really good change.”

Below is the UCI video of the Brändle Hour Record Ride. There is a 1min 23sec wait for the actual video after the commercial.


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