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Victor Campenaerts confirms altitude attempt at Wiggins's Hour Record

Joe Robinson
26 Feb 2019

Lotto Soudal rider confirmed to travel to altitude this April in attempt set to cost in excess of €100,000

Lotto Soudal's Victor Campenaerts will tackle the UCI Hour Record this April, the UCI has confirmed. The attempt will take place on either the 16th or 17th April at the Aguascalientes Velodrome in Mexico, nearly 2km above sea level.

The European time-trial champion will travel to altitude this spring in order to chase Wiggins's record of 54.526km set at the Lee Valley Velodrome in 2015. The UCI confirmed the attempt earlier today in a press release.

Campenaerts believes that despite not seeing himself as a better athlete overall than Wiggins, the record is there for the taking.

'I respect Bradley [Wiggins] a lot and I do not consider myself as a better athlete than the former Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic champion. However, by making progress and taking into account every possible detail, I hope to have a chance to take over the Hour Record,' said Capenaerts.

'Personally, the world Hour Record, the world time-trial title and the Olympic time-trial title are the three dreams I want to pursue in the coming years, starting with the world Hour Record.'

To attempt the record in April, Campenaerts will travel to the infamous Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico, which sits at 1,887m above sea level.

The lower air density found at altitude in Mexico lends itself to efforts such as attempts on the Hour Record. In 2018, both Martin Toft Madsen and Dion Beukeboom travelled to Aguascalientes for their own tilts at the record, although both fell short by over 800m.

Vittoria Bussi also travelled to the Mexican velodrome and managing to set a new women's Hour Record of 48.007km in September.

While choosing to travel to Mexico to contest the Hour comes with clear performance benefits, it also comes at a substantial financial cost, which Campenaerts admits could end up being upwards of €100,000.

'I have been told that 100,000 euros is the absolute minimum,' Campenaerts told Het Laatste Nieuws last month.

'In that price is the bike, the equipment, the trip to Mexico, the stay there, the use of a high tent, the costs for staff, the compensation for my trainer, the rent of the track, and so on.

'I'm going three weeks before the start of the attempt to adjust to the time difference, so you also pay for that period.'

Wiggins set his record at sea level four years ago in conditions that were widely agreed as not ideal, and it's this that has given Campenaerts hope that the record can be toppled.

Campenaerts has improved in his time-trialling ability over the past few seasons, securing major results such as the European TT title and third at the World Championships, behind Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin, last year. He has twice also been Belgian national champion against the clock.

He is far from alone in his Hour Record aspirations, with young Danish talent Mikkel Berg having recently got to within 800m of Wiggins's mark as a teenager in October 2018.

In reaching the 53.73km mark, not only did the Dane set a new national record but also posted the second longest ever distance over an hour, surpassing compatriot Madsen.

The two-time under 23 time trial World Champion is expected to attempt the record again at some point in the near future.