Cancellara to take on hallowed mark

One-hour distance record stands as cycling world's blue-ribbon event

Updated: February 20, 2014, 6:01 PM ET
By Gregor Brown | VeloNews.com

MILAN (VN) -- Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) may have already circled the date on his calendar for an attempt at cycling's one-hour distance record: Aug. 3 in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reported Wednesday that Cancellara will try to top the current record of 49.7 kilometers (set by Czech Ondrej Sosenka in 2005) at Mexico's magical track one week after the Tour de France.

The 250-meter indoor Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome in central Mexico hosted a UCI Track World Cup round in December, and eight records were broken. France's Francois Pervis set the 200-meter time trial record at 9.347 seconds and the 1K time trial record at 56.303.

Trek general manager Luca Guercilena was not immediately available for comment. The team sent a news release saying Cancellara would attempt the hour later in the year, not after the classics, and that the venue was undecided.

"The focus for Fabian is now fully on the classics and an attempt to repeat the success of last year," Guercilena said in the release Thursday. "After Paris-Roubaix, we'll turn our attention to the hour record and we will have more details."

Cancellara, the 32-year-old Swiss rider, has won four world time trial titles, an Olympic gold and classics from Milano-Sanremo to Paris-Roubaix. However, like other modern stars, he has yet to tackle cycling's blue-ribbon event: riding as far as possible on a standard fixed-gear bike for one hour.

If he succeeds, Cancellara write his name in the record books with Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil and Fausto Coppi.

The hour record has taken a back seat since 2000, when the UCI introduced new rules and rolled the record back to Merckx's 1972 distance of 49.431K. Its new rules stated that the cyclist must attempt the hour on a traditional bike. Since then, only Chris Boardman (49.441K in 2000) and Sosenka have topped Merckx's mark.

Guercilena told VeloNews in November that they also considered Manchester, England, and Anadia, Portugal. Both of those tracks are near sea level, however. The Aguascalientes track sits at 6,190 feet elevation and the thin air allows for faster speeds.

"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."

World time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) have said that they would also like to try. Cancellara's succeeding could spur them toward attempting the hour record.

La Gazzetta also reported that Cancellara would train on the track from April to June and build up from July 22 onward. If he races the Tour de France, he may decide to leave early to make the 12-hour trip to Mexico City, then travel just over 300 miles north to Aguascalientes.

According to the report, a TV broadcast will allow fans worldwide to see the event, and Trek has dedicated 15 staffers to the project that will also double as a marketing opportunity.

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