Ellen van Dijk to attempt hour record

The world time trial champion will aim to beat the current record of 48.405 in May.

Photo: James Startt

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Current world time trial champion Ellen van Dijk will attempt to break the Hour Record in May.

Van Dijk’s team, Trek-Segafredo announced on Wednesday that the 35-year-old will make her attempt at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland, the same venue where Joscelin Lowden set the current record of 48.405km in September of 2021.

“This has been a dream of mine for a very long time. The hour record is something that I have always said I wanted to do one day and now that day is finally here. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about doing it, a mix of excitement and nerves which is normal. You are always just on the edge with big challenges, and this is a huge challenge, so it is going to be exciting and frightening at the same time,” said van Dijk.

In a press release by Trek-Segafredo, the team outlined how van Dijk had been considering an attempt for four years but finally made the decision to commit after winning her world title in Flanders last September where she held 50.383km/h for 36:05 minutes.

“We started talking about the hour record when I first joined Trek-Segafredo four years ago, but I knew it wasn’t the right time. I was still overcoming injuries and knew I wouldn’t be at my best. Now, however, I know I am ready to really challenge the current benchmark,” Van Dijk said.

“It was after UCI World Championships last year when I brought up the subject of attempting the hour record once again. I had won the rainbow jersey which was my big goal last year and I said to myself and the Team that it was time for my next dream, the hour record. It was then at our December training camp when we really started to speak seriously about it and started making plans.”

Before she can focus on her attempt, however, van Dijk has the rest of the classics season to focus on, including Paris Roubaix Femmes this Saturday.

“We are still in the process of getting everything prepared for the big day and, of course, I want to continue racing well through all the remaining Spring Classics. This means my focus has not been exclusively on the hour record but that will change by May,” she explained.

Of course, equipment and aerodynamics will play a key role and van Dijk has already undergone testing. Trek has been designing a purpose-made bike for her attempt while the team’s kit manufacturer Santini is working on a speed suit.

“What I am doing already is trying to train more and more on my time trial bike because I will need to hold my position for a very long time. I was at the wind tunnel on Monday and we’ve also done some track testing but the majority of that is still to be done in the coming weeks,” Van Dijk said. “Trek is manufacturing a track version of the Speed Concept and Santini will be making me a new kit so we don’t have the exact material I will use on the day yet.”

“It’s cool that the whole team at Trek-Segafredo have been incredibly supportive right from the beginning and that there are so many people involved. I appreciate all the support including that from the Team’s many partners who are also playing an important role in this project.”

While attempts at the Hour Record have been popular amongst the men, few women have taken it on in recent years. Last year, after breaking the previous record — set by Italian Vittoria Bussi on 13 September 2018 — Lowden said she hoped that her attempt would encourage other women to take on the Hour. Van Dijk expressed her respect for Lowden saying:

“As we haven’t tested the full set up yet, I don’t know exactly what kind of watts I will need to achieve but the aim will just be to try to go as fast as I can for the full sixty minutes. I don’t have a set distance in mind, I just want to break it in the first instance. Of course, it won’t be an easy task because I have a lot of respect for the record set by Joss [Lowden]. She did a really great job and set a high benchmark to reach, 48.4km, so it’s certainly going to be a very very tough hour.”

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