Jens Voigt has put the Hour Record back into the headlines Thursday evening in Grenchen, Switzerland in front of over 1600 fans at the Velodrome Suisse, setting a new record distance of 51.110 kms to break the 2005 benchmark of 49.700 kms set in 2005 set by Ondrej Sosenka.
Jens Voigt was ahead of his set timetable from the first lap, and he slowly built on his lead as the seconds ticked off the clock. He never appeared in trouble and was able to increase his pace in the final 10 minutes to bring his speed over the 51km/h mark for the first time.
“I started as usual too fast, but that is just me I can’t control myself, and I realized that I was a second faster on the first lap than on the timetable so I tried to pace myself a little. But I was in good shape, just right. I am perfectly fit for this moment, I am in very good shape, and after 20 minutes I had gained one lap but I was still feeling in control. Then from 20-40 minutes I had a comfortable lead and I paced myself and was still gaining a little time. Then in the last 20 I sped up a little and gained another lap. The last 10 minutes were flat out – all-in.
“My only thoughts were to not over pace, to focus on holding the black line and to stay aero – no side thoughts. 51.1- yah I am pretty happy.”
- Jens Voigt
General Manager Luca Guercilena commented on Voigt’s Hour Record from Spain where Trek Factory Racing is currently preparing for the World Championship Team Time Trial on Sunday:
“At the start I was pretty worried because I knew the time schedule and he was fast, but then I was happy when I saw him balancing. I knew that at 40 minutes it was the line where he would either increase or go down and I was super happy to see him increase. It was really impressive to see him do this at the age of 43 – but Jens is Jens.
At the end I was really hoping he could beat the time of Moser because that was the first reference for the hour record and that would have been good. He was really, really close. It was a really nice way to finish his career with a good performance, and we gave him all our support and this is what he deserved. I am really happy the event went well. We all watched [the Hour Record] from a computer in Spain and I can say it was inspirational, and has given us a boost for Sunday.”
- Luca Guercilena
After it was over he was able to take in what he had just accomplished in front of a packed house in the Velodrome Suisse, and also televised live throughout the world. He admitted, even through the suffering, he was able to enjoy the moment:
“The first 10 minutes I could not feel the pedals and thought, ‘oh this is easy!’ Then I went, ‘oooooh, maybe you’d better pace yourself a little bit here.’ Then I went on cruising speed from 20-40 mins. But I could feel at that speed I was good, I could hold on to this speed, I am not going to break down or slow down. So I felt in control, and yes indeed I had a little bit of time to enjoy it.”
In the final 30 minutes Jens Voigt began standing at interspersed moments, the first show of the strain and pain from the tremendous effort.
“Having this cramped up position to hold for an hour is pretty tough. Basically the place where I sit on the saddle was really beginning to hurt and giving me a lot of pain, so every 10 laps I got out of the seat to stretch and release some pressure of my behind so to speak. I am happy that I don’t have to sit on the saddle for the next days now!
“I remember how Chris Boardman was walking after his effort and I am not far off from that. I am basically limping. It hurts in my glutes!
“Boardman was my first roommate in 1997 and I can’t ask for a better good-bye than this.”
- Jens Voigt
In 2014 the UCI unified the two previous classifications (Athlete’s Hour and Best Human Effort) into a single classification in line with regulations for current track pursuit bikes and Jens Voigt was the first attempt under the new ruling.
“It’s absolutely what we thought would happen, to bring the Hour Record back to status in a new era. It was pointless to continue the old system, we needed to allow the technology and bring back the magic. It was wonderful! Congratulations to Jens and all the Trek Factory Racing team.”
- Brian Cookson (president UCI)
Photo credit: Ulf Schiller schillerphoto.com