Austrian cyclist Matthias Brändle set a new world hour record Thursday, riding 32.2 miles at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 200-meter track in Aigle, Switzerland. He broke the record of 31.8 miles set by Jens Voigt on September 18.
According to VeloNews, Brändle has minimal track experience, but he’d been training in wind tunnels since September and managed to average more than 32 mph over 50 minutes.
“Now I feel really great, but during the race it was so hard,” the 24-year-old told VeloNews. “I knew after 30 minutes that I was going to succeed. The first minutes were easy, and then I wanted to go a lot faster. Halfway through, things became more complicated and I started to feel pain.”
Brändle fought through the final 10 minutes as his pace weakened. He eclipsed Voigt’s distance with 42 seconds left to go in the hour.
“It sounds easy enough, riding for one hour as hard as possible around a track, but once you get beyond 30 or 35 minutes, you’re riding through a sea of lactic acid,” UCI president Brian Cookson told VeloNews. “[Today’s ride] is another notch a bit further, but it’s not out of reach. We’ve seen a really worthy record tonight, a world-class performance.”
Many contenders are bound to take a swing at the hour record since the UCI changed its rules for the event in June, and Voigt isn’t too broken up about his record being broken so quickly. “I know what it’s like to be out there for one hour, and it’s an achievement in itself! Bravo!” he told VeloNews. “You need to go through a wall of pain, and he did great … I was hoping to keep my record until Christmas maybe, but this is fine. I’m happy for him!”
Time will tell how long Brändle’s record stands. Word has it that Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins are both planning on having a go at it next year.