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MILAN (VN) — Fabian Cancellara will attempt the hour record this year, in April or July/August, according to Trek Factory Racing.
“It’s for sure, this year,” general manager Luca Guercilena told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He has the hour record in his legs.”
Guercilena said that Cancellara will try to break the current 49.7-kilometer record between either April 14-27 or July 28-August 10.
“We have two windows where he’ll have a peak in form, the two weeks after Paris-Roubaix or after the Tour de France,” Guercilena added.
They are considering two venues: Anadia, Portugal, or Aguascalientes, Mexico. The Aguascalientes track recently hosted the second World Cup round when riders broke several records. However, it sets at 1800 meters. Guercilena said that the track’s air density may be regulated.
Racing in Portugal at 49 meters and closer to Cancellara’s home in Bern, Switzerland, appears more likely. Guercilena told VeloNews last month that it could be too time consuming to travel outside of Europe during the season, when Cancellara has other races on his plate.
Cancellara aims to beat Ondřej Sosenka’s record set on July 19, 2005. The Czech rode 49.700km and topped Chris Boardman’s 2000 mark of 49.441.
“It’s not as easy as it looks,” Guercilena said. “To do 50 kilometers an hour on a normal bike and on a track is harder than going 52 in a Tour de France time trial, with an aero bike, disc wheels and a stretched out position.”
Cancellara won four world championship time trials and the 2008 Olympic title in Beijing. Those results and their time at team Mapei together brought about the idea to attempt the record. Guercilena looked after the Mapei development squad, where Cancellara began racing in 2001. Aldo Sassi, the team’s trainer, told the two back then that Cancellara had the hour “in his legs.”
Trek Factory Racing already began working this month at its two team meetings, one in Belgium and one in Spain. Cancellara reportedly tested hour record equipment when he visited the Valencia’s Luis Puig Velodrome on Friday.
“Twenty-five people — 15 from Trek bicycles, engineers and biomechanics, and 10 from the team — are working on the record,” Guercilena said. “We are trying to make the bike and wheels faster while staying in the UCI’s rules. You need time for this.”
In 2000, the UCI wrote new rules that prohibited extreme bikes and positions. In its heyday, Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, and many other stars broke the record. Francesco Moser, Graeme Obree, Boardman, Miguel Indurain, and Tony Rominger extended the mark as well in the 1980s and 1990s, but the UCI dismissed their distances with its 2000 rules.
Cancellara’s attempt may encourage other time trial stars like Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to do the same.
“It’d be good to get stars going for the record again, above all for someone like Cancellara who’s gone well against the clock for the last 10 years,” Guercilena told VeloNews. “It’s only right to put it on the program.”