Briton Alex Dowsett to target hour record in Manchester on December 12

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Alex Dowsett —
Alex Dowsett —

Alex Dowsett has announced plans to regain the world hour record in Manchester next month. 

Dowsett, 32, set a mark of 52.937km at the national velodrome in May 2015 but only held the record for just over a month with Sir Bradley Wiggins managing to complete 54.526km at the Olympic velodrome in London in June of that year. 

Since then, there have been three more attempts to capture the record. Only Belgian Victor Campenaerts was able to improve on Wiggins’ mark. Campanearts managed 55.089km in Mexico last year.

“It’s going to be a very big ask but I think I’m capable,” said Dowsett, who is in good form having just won the second grand tour stage of his career at the Giro d’Italia last month.

“When I took the record in 2015, we rode enough to break the record but I knew I had more in the tank at the end which was frustrating given the work put in by everyone. 

“I spotted an opportunity in December this year to have another go and obviously I want to try and break the record, I want to see what I’m capable of and it’s an event I just really love and feel privileged to have the opportunity to take on again.”

Dowsett, who rides for Israel Start-up Nation, has severe haemophilia A and is the only known elite sportsperson with the condition to compete in an able-bodied field. 

He will be using his attempt to raise awareness of his charity Little Bleeders and The Haemophilia Society. 

The hour record is one of cycling’s most iconic and punishing events. Even the great Eddy Merckx only did it once, in 1972, climbing off his bike and vowing “never again”. It has undergone a resurgence in recent years with the UCI simplifying the rules.

Dowsett’s attempt will take place on Saturday, December 12, at the Manchester velodrome.

“The biggest hurdle to overcome in the hour record is actually wind,” Dowsett said. “Put simply, the more efficiently you can cut through the air, the easier holding 55km+ per hour will be. 

“The only variable outside of our control is atmospheric pressure so we’ll have our fingers crossed for preferable air pressure come December 12th.”

Meanwhile, Chloe Dygert has signed a four-year contract with Canyon-Sram, joining from American development team Twenty20 Pro Cycling where she spent six years.

Twenty20 Pro Cycling team manager Nicola Cranmer said in a press release that Dygert’s time with team had provided her with the tools she needed to grow. “Although it appears Chloe has God-given strength and talent, many assume these talents spring out of nowhere or burst on the scene—but it takes years of patience, nurturing, mapping, and of course the partnership with her coach, Kristin Armstrong, to develop an athlete like Chloe,” Cranmer said.

Dygert, meanwhile, said she was excited to be stepping up to the Women’s WorldTour and joining the European pro racing scene, even if her focus for the coming season was on her recovery and then the Olympic Games. 

“My focus in 2021 is clear— the Tokyo Olympic Games. I just want to heal and be ready in time, and my goals are to win gold in the time trial and the team pursuit,” stated Dygert. 

“I haven’t raced on the road in Europe yet because I still had goals to accomplish before we could move to that one. I’ll stay working with my coach Kristin Armstrong. We’ve always set goals and gone after them one at a time, without spreading ourselves too thin. We’ll keep that approach next year and we’re looking forward to the supportive environment of Canyon-Sram and its partners.”