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The Brit, who works for Ineos Grenadiers as its performance engineer, beat Victor Campenaerts’ previous record by just shy of 500 meters, which was set in 2019.
Bigham set off on his attempt at a pace that was about 12 seconds slower than Campenaerts’ average speed. He and the team behind the record attempt opted to ride a negative split in the opening half to conserve some energy for the final minutes.
He soon started picking up his lap times and by the halfway point he was almost level with the record pace.
“I think it was my best-paced hour by far,” he said after setting the record. “I was a bit ahead of the split for the first half, but I felt really good. I got to halfway and then the plan was to ride 16.0 [laps] for the second half, which is quite daunting because I’ve not ridden 16.0s for half an hour before. It’s just a bit mindblowing, it’s pretty epic.
“I had an ungodly amount of support from Ineos. I think that’s what has been the step change and it’s not just about the equipment. I know that people want to hear me talk about CDA all day long, but if anything it’s the execution, the physiology, all that kind of stuff. It absolutely steps it up.
“You’ve never got it until you’ve done the laps. I had a bit of a wobbly in my head just after halfway. Just how was I going to ride 16.0s for the next half an hour, that’s nuts. It never bit though, it was always in control. In my head, I thought ‘just get to 20 minutes to go and then try to press on a bit.'”
Campenaerts held the UCI Hour Record, which was set at a distance of 55.089, since 2019. Bigham is the sixth rider to officially try to break it with Alex Dowsett, Mathias Norsgaard, and Claudio Imhof among the riders that fell short of the distance.
Bigham only announced his Hour Record attempt last week, just days after Ineos Grenadiers rider Filippo Ganna decided to postpone his attempt.
It is the second time in less than a year that Bigham has made an attempt at the Hour Record. He attempted it last year as an independent at the same Grenchen Velodrome. Though it wasn’t an official UCI-recognized record, he set a new British record of 54.723km.
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) August 19, 2022