With the likelihood growing that Lance Armstrong will tackle the Hour record, current holder Chris B
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Lance Armstrong has been challenged by Chris Boardman to use his probable attempt on the Briton’s World Hour Record to irrefutably prove his ethical and athletic credibility. Boardman, the former Olympic pursuit champion and world time trial champion, is privately lobbying the International Cycling Union (UCI) to urge Armstrong to adhere to strict parameters in his Hour bid, now expected to take place within the next six months. “This record should be a rock of credibility in what is a very turbulent time for our sport,” said the former British track star. Boardman rode beyond Eddy Merckx’s mark, set in 1972 in Mexico City, to establish the Athlete’s Hour Record’ in 2000. This differentiates from the mid-1990’s spate of technologically-assisted records set by other riders. Boardman’s current record of 49.441 kilometres, set at sea level in Manchester, spurned hi-tech aerodynamics and, like Merckx 28 years earlier, was achieved using simple equipment and a standard road bike. Boardman is anxious that Armstrong tackle the Hour record in the same spirit and in as near-identical circumstances as he did for his own successful attempt in Manchester. “This record’s all about the athlete,” he told procycling. “Taking it on at altitude is missing the point. I am delighted that riders of Armstrong’s stature deem this record to be significant, but I would be deeply upset if he chose to attempt to break it at altitude.” But Armstrong’s high-profile bid now seems likely to take place at altitude in either Colorado or Utah. “We can do it in Manchester where it’s been done several times,” Armstrong said. “Ideally, we would look for a high-altitude location.” With expense seemingly not an issue for the Texan, Boardman is insistent that Armstrong should remain true to the parameters of his own record. “The whole philosophy behind my attempt on the record was to create something that the public could believe in at face value. They should have assurances in place that let them believe that what they are seeing is the truth,” Boardman said. “There should be doping control of both blood and urine immediately prior to and after the event and this should be stored to allow for future re-tests,” Boardman said. “In Armstrong’s case, putting in place such procedures would be a magnificent opportunity for him to dispel all the rumours. It would answer all his problems.” Armstrong has been conducting wind tunnel tests in San Diego, California, testing bikes and equipment, including new clothing fabric technologies that would be beneficial for both record attempts. Boardman, whose ride in Manchester in 2000, was the valedictory achievement of his career, is watching developments carefully. “I was one of the athletes who explored technological advancements to the edge of what the rules allowed but it seemed a poetic way to finish my career by setting a mark that was purely and simply about the athlete, and that would be comparable with performances in the future. “Armstrong’s bid is exactly what I want to see happen for what should be a blue riband event,” Boardman said. “Yes, it’s another layer of dust on my career, and it’s inevitable that my record will be beaten. But I get frustrated, because people miss the point.” Boardman’s Hour record parameters: Bike – the frame must have round tubes with a minimum diameter of 25 mm; frame tubing components of forks and seat posts must be of a normal non-aerodynamic section; wheels must fall within existing regulations. Clothing – no body or skin suits or aerodynamic apparel; any helmet worn must not have any aerodynamic profiling. The Velodrome – track can be indoor or outdoor but must be below 500 metres in altitude to be consistent and not budget restricted. Doping control – testing of both blood and urine before and after the event to be stored for up to 20 years for possible re-testing.