PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
A little-known Czech rider by the name of Ondrej Sosenka this afternoon stunned the cycling world by shattering Chris Boardman's world hour record in Moscow.
While Lance Armstrong was busy writing the final drafts of his latest page of Tour de France history, Sosenka joined the American in the sport's annals by extending the record Boardman set in Manchester in 2000 by more than 200 metres. On the 330-metre indoor Moscow velodrome, the six foot five, 29-year-old Sosenka set a new mark of 49.7 kilometres.
Sosenka will be an unfamiliar name to all but the most ardent of cycling aficionados. Acqua e Saopne team manager Palmiro Masciarelli told procycling this afternoon that he had stumbled upon the gangly Czech almost by chance at the world championships in Hamilton at the end of 2003.
"I was going around all of the agents looking for riders for my new team," Masciarelli told procycling. "It was Rudy Pevenage, Jan Ullrich's coach, who recommended Sosenka to me. He told me that he knew this Czech guy who was a prodigious talent - good in time trials and a decent climber, too.
"We always believed that he could break the record," Masciarelli said. "Other people were sceptical. We were due to hold the attempt in September but Ondrej was in fantastic form and he felt that the time was right."
Former world hour legend Francesco Moser, whose company supplied the 9.8kg machine on which Sosenka broke the record, was among those who had raised eyebrows when the Czech decided to bring his bid forward just 10 days ago. "Moser said that 10 days would never be enough time to prepare. But Ondrej took it all in his stride: he first tested the bike on Saturday, trained on the track on Sunday, then broke the record at the first attempt today."
Masciarelli then revealed how Sosenka had come close to eclipsing the Tour on its final day in the Pyrenees. "We wanted him to make the attempt in Bordeaux, i.e. not far from where the Tour is today. It was Ondrej who insisted on Moscow, the longer of the two tracks. I spoke to him on the phone this afternoon and he said that he never wanted to see a bike again! That's unfortunate, because I've got big plans for him for the rest of the season.!"
Sosenka may have been a virtual unknown prior to his exploit today, but his palmars speaks of a rider of considerable pedigree, particularly in time trials. A winner of the Tour of Poland in 2004, the man from Prague recently underlined his rouleur's credentials by winning a time trial in the Tour of Belgium. Sosenka, who during the season lives in Pescara on Italy's Adriatic coast, is also the Czech national time trial champion. Masciarelli was keen to point out this afternoon that Sosenka is contracted to his Acqua e Sapone team until the end of 2006.
Riding a huge 55x11 gear (compared to Boardman's 54x14), Sosenka led Boardman at every time-check this afternoon. The Czech becomes only the second man, after Boardman, to hold the hour record since the UCI placed new and severe restrictions on the bicycle and clothing technology permitted in record attempts. Boardman had previously established a mark of 56.375km using high-tech equipment in Manchester in September 1996.
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM