Monday, 8 June 2015
Bradley Wiggins demonstrated a mesmeric, metronomic performance yesterday on the London Olympic Games velodrome to ride himself into cycling's record books and set the new world record for distance covered in one hour.
54.526 kilometres, a dizzying one and a half kilometres further than the previous mark set by his fellow Briton Alex Dowsett whose tenure at the top of the list lasted only five weeks. The iconic hour record has an essential simplicity which has given the event a lustre that has lasted since its inception in 1893. The cycling greats who have held this record are a select group of legendary names: Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, Jaques Anquetil, Fausto Coppi, Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree to name a few. And now Bradley Wiggins can share their illustrious company.
Wiggins was hoping to break the 55 kilometre barrier and put the record out of site, at least for the foreseeable future, however atmospheric conditions weren't favourable enough to enable him to make that target a possibility - an anti-cyclone air pressure of 1036 cost him around 700 metres he believed, - but the bar has definitely been raised significantly, probably enough to deter anyone else making an attempt for a while.
Bradley made the whole thing look so simple - but remember , he rode for an hour at an average speed of around 34mph - 'It was torture' he said at the end 'Physically I was on the red line where you can't go harder but you're hanging on to what you've got'
As he said afterwards, this is the perennial attraction - the link to the greats from the past, the history, the record boils down to a man on his own against the clock - counting down lap after interminable lap.
Well done Brad - outstanding performance and a great achievement in the twilight of an illustrious career.