One of cycling's toughest tests of strength and speed, the much sought after hour record, has been broken by the Australian rider Rohan Dennis, after he set a new mark for the world record distance. Dennis convincingly surpassed the previous mark set only last October by Matthias Brandle, when he recorded new best figures of 52.491km on the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland. Riding strongly throughout, he was consistently up on the old record, although he tired towards the end and was well below the 53km that had seemed within his grasp at one stage.
The 24-year-old MC Racing rider's initial target was the 51.852km distance set by the Austrian, also in Switzerland, which is a popular location for attempts to be made on the record. He succeeded in the attempt after his compatriot Jack Bobridge had failed to reach the requisite distance the week before, when he could only manage 51.3km in an attempt in Melbourne, as the best riders across the globe have suddenly renewed their interest in going for the record..
Dennis' record was the third successful attempt since the UCI re-vamped the rules around the record in the spring of 2014. Prior to Brandle, Jens Voigt held the mark after his successful ride also on the track at Grenchen.
The new record holder has a proven track pedigree, having been a world champion at team-pursuit, and was clearly in form after his victory in the Tour Down Under only two weeks before.
England's Alex Dowsett had originally planned to have his shot at the record later this month, but the Commonwealth Time Trial champion from Glasgow is still recuperating after breaking his collarbone. Britain's former Tour de France winner and Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins has also thrown his hat into the ring, but a potential date has yet to be finalised for his attempt, as he juggles with other commitments. There was thought to be a possibility that he may be lining up a June attempt this year, but that has not yet been confirmed.
Wiggins is currently racing in the Tour of Qatar, as he uses the race to form part of his preparations for the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic in April.
Sadly for the Brit he has not started too well in the six-stage race, finishing only 81st on the first stage after losing contact with the leaders 5km from the finish, some 33 seconds down on the Spanish race leader, Jose Joaquin Rojas. Tom Boonen lost out in the sprint to Rojas, with Arnaud Demare taking third on the 136km stage between Dukhan and Sealine Beach. #Celebrities