Bicycling’s hour record is an amazing feat. Why should something so simple be so hard, and create so much controversy? Think about it: pedal as fast as you can around an oval track on a bicycle for 60 minutes. Eddy Merckx has done it, and said it took years off his life. Neither Greg LeMond or Lance Armstrong thought they could prepare enough, having put all their effort into winning the Tour de France a combined 10 times.
Then the International Cycling Union (UCI) came in and turned everything upside down.
After Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree shunned “proper” preparation and technology to shatter Francesco Moser’s 1984 record in 1993 (who, by the way, took 12 years to best Merckx), a who’s who of cyclists broke Obree’s: Chris Boardman, Tony Rominger, and five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain. The hour record went from Merckx’s 49.431km in 1972 to Boardman’s 56.385km using the “Obree Superman” position in 1996, only to have the UCI poo-poo the technology-aided records. This prompted Boardman to use a stock steel Look track bike in 2000 to beat Merckx’s record by a mere .010km, reflecting Merckx incredible athletic achievement 28 years prior!
Last week, we reported the failed drug test of current hour record holder Ondrej Sosenka, who bested Boardman’s distance by .259km in 2005. Procycling‘s Daniel Friebe recalls interviewing the young Czech cyclist, and shares his thoughts from 2005 here.