Cycling is full of great races, The Tour, the Giro, Paris-Roubaix. These are tough, and few have the capacity to win, but these are all undertaken with lots of other riders. There is one cycling record that is even more gruelling than these; The Hour. Those that have set a new record join an elite club; those that have won the Tour de France and set a record are the crème de la crème.
On paper it looks simple enough, how far can you cycle for one hour. But this is one of cycling and sports toughest events mentally and physically. If you start hard and fast you’ll fade by the end, if you start slow, then you’ll never be able to reach your target. It is a discipline that requires a metronomic speed around the track with fraction of second differences each lap. Many riders who have undertaken, including the great Merckx, it say it is the hardest thing that they have ever done.
The UCI have changed the rules several times on the type of bike and position the rider can use. They can now ride with a regular time trial machine. Naturally the bike Wiggo uses is very technical advanced. They spent a large fortune on the Pinarello Bolide and is pure excellence for the bike geek, it includes custom printed titanium set of handlebars, reduced friction chain, redesigned front fork and a carbon frame designed in conjunction with Jaguar. It is a thing of beauty.
He takes us behind the preparation for this attempt. But as a team they had nothing to go on, so they designed their own programme building of stamina and utilising the famous ‘marginal gains’ that UK cycling is now known for. Scattered throughout the book is profiles of those that have taken on this challenge and won; these men were heroes of Wiggins, and with this he joins their ranks. The photography in the book is brilliant, there is a mix of informal portraits, arty bike shots and dynamic image as he hurtles around the velodrome. It is a really enjoyable read by one of my favourite sportsmen as he takes on that clock.