Filippo Ganna has confirmed he will attack the UCI Hour Record in the Grenchen velodrome on Saturday October 8, aiming to beat his Ineos Grenadiers performance engineer Dan Bigham, who recently set a distance of 55.548km.
Ganna had planned to attack the Hour Record in the summer after completing his debut Tour de France but pushed back his plans.
His October attempt will come after this weekend’s time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Australia and before the Track Worlds in Paris.
Ganna will ride the elite men’s time trial on Sunday, targeting a third consecutive rainbow jersey and then the Team Relay event on Wednesday. He opted not to ride the road race and so will travel home to prepare for the Hour Record attempt.
Ganna’s Hour Record attempt will clash with this year’s Il Lombardia but he will start his ride at 8pm local time to avoid clashing with the Italian end-of-season Classic.
“I think the record can be broken,” Ganna said during a press conference from Australia. “It’s an hour – that’s not long – but it’s an intense hour. I can assure you that it hurts.
“It will be interesting to see how my body holds up, and just how far I can go – it’s a chance to really test your physical and mental limits. To undertake a prestigious event like this is an important step in my career.”
Ganna is the favourite to win a third consecutive time trial world title on Sunday but true to character, he played down his chances in Australia.
“This year was even more intense than ever with all the racing and all the expectations, so we’ll see what I can do and what my legs say. It’s all about how my legs and my head combine. When we cross the finish line, we’ll see the result,” Ganna said, avoiding naming Remco Evenepoel as his biggest rival.
“For sure Evenepoel is in really good shape at this part of the season, he was clearly the strongest rider at the Vuelta. But I prefer to focus on myself and my own performance rather than other people but I wish him and everyone the best for the race.”
Bike sponsor Pinarello has developed a new track bike for Ganna’s Hour Record attempt and he secretly tested the bike on the Montichiari velodrome in Italy before travelling to Australia for Worlds.
“I have been training on the new Pinarello bike and it’s super-fast – I love it. It’s another step on from the already high level we have with our equipment,” Ganna said.
“The Team puts so much energy and effort into these projects, and our partners, from Pinarello and the new prototype bike, to a fully customised skinsuit made by Bioracer – they’ve done their part so now it’s my turn. I’m going to feel really good stepping into that velodrome. Mentally that’ll already give me some extra metres.”
Bigham broke the Hour Record in August 19 on the same Grenchen velodrome in Switzerland, combining his athletic ability with superb aerodynamics and technique.
A part-time rider, Bigham joined the staff of Ineos Grenadiers as a performance engineer this year and was also given the time to train for his attempt after becoming part of the UCI biological passport testing pool.
He extended Victor Campenaerts’ previous mark by 459 metres, and has played a key role in helping Ganna prepare for his own attempt.
“We have been building towards this exciting event during the last year. There have been so many layers of thought gone into the planning of this event so we can ensure Filippo arrives at the start line in Switzerland with the best equipment for the greatest chance of success,” said Ineos Grenadiers deputy principal Rod Ellingworth.
“When it comes to taking on events like this, we leave nothing to chance – constantly refining what and how we do things is part of the genetic makeup of the Ineos Grenadiers team. It’s inspiring to work alongside some of the best brains in the business. It’s that kind of care and consideration that shows our athletes how much we want them to do well.”
Cyclingnews will have full coverage of Ganna’s Hour Record attempt on October 8.