The hour record is the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour on a bicycle from a stationary start. Cyclists attempt this record alone on the track without other competitors present. It is considered perhaps the most prestigious record in all of cycling. Over history, various cyclists ranging from unknown amateurs to well-known professionals have held the record, adding to its prestige and allure. There are several records, the most famous of which is for upright bicycles meeting the requirements of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Hour-record attempts, for UCI bikes, are made in a velodrome.
- 1 Early hour records
- 2 UCI hour record (1972–2014)
- 3 UCI unified hour record (2014–present)
- 4 Statistics
- 5 Para-cycling records
- 6 Hour record gallery
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early hour records
The first recorded record was in 1876 when the American Frank Dodds rode 26.508 km (16.471 mi) on a penny-farthing, although there are also claims that the record was first set in 1873 by James Moore in Wolverhampton, riding an Ariel 49" high wheel bicycle. The first officially recognised record was set by Henri Desgrange at the Buffalo Velodrome, Paris in 1893 following the formation of the International Cycling Association.
The hour was attempted sporadically over the following 70 years, with most early attempts taking place at the Buffalo Velodrome in Paris, before the Velodromo Vigorelli in Milan became popular in the 1930's and 1940's sparking attempts from leading Italian riders and former Giro d'Italia winners such as Fausto Coppi and Ercole Baldini. In 1968, Ole Ritter broke the record in Mexico City, the first attempt at altitude since Willie Hamilton in 1898.
Historical hour records
UCI hour record (1972–2014)
Merckx, Moser & new technology
In 1972 Eddy Merckx set the hour record in Mexico City at an altitude of 2,300m (7,550 ft) where he proclaimed it to have been "the hardest ride I have ever done". In January 1984, Francesco Moser set a new record at 51.151 km (31.784 mi). This was the first noted use of disc wheels, which provided an aerodynamic gain.
Obree vs. Boardman
In 1993 and 1994, Graeme Obree, who built his own bikes, posted two records with his hands tucked under his chest. In 1994, Moser set the veterans record he veteran's record at (51.840 km) in Mexico City. Moser beat his 1984 record, using bullhorn handlebars, steel airfoil tubing, disk wheels and skinsuit. It was also faster than Obree's first record in 1993. In May of the same year, the UCI outlawed the Obree "praying mantis" style. Chris Boardman took up the challenge using the now famous Lotus car company designed bike. South African company Aerodyne Technology built the frame. Boardman set UCI Absolute record of 56.375 km in 1996. In 1996, Boardman set a record using another position pioneered by Obree, his arms out in front in a "Superman" position. Both were considered controversial by the UCI, and while the records were allowed to stand, the positions were banned. Subsequently, Obree and Boardman made several attempts to top the previous record.
1997 UCI rule change
With the increasing gap between modern bicycles and what was available at the time of Merckx's record, the UCI established two records in 1997:
- UCI Hour Record: which restricted competitors to roughly the same equipment as Merckx, banning time trial helmets, disc or tri-spoke wheels, aerodynamic bars and monocoque frames.
- Best Human Effort: also known as the UCI "Absolute" Record  in which modern equipment was permitted.
Best Human Effort
As a result of the 1997 rule change, records since 1972, including Boardman's 56.375 km (35.030 mi) in 1996, were downgraded to Best Human Effort. In 2000, Boardman attempted the UCI record on a traditional bike, and rode 49.441 km (30.721 mi), topping Merckx by 10 m (32.8 ft), an improvement of 0.02%. In 2005 Ondřej Sosenka improved Boardman's performance at 49.700 km (30.882 mi) using a 54×13 gear. Sosenka later failed a doping control in 2001 and then again in 2008, the latter resulting in a career-ending suspension which puts in doubt the validity of his record. All women's records from 1986 to 1996 were recategorized to Best Human Effort.
Hour record holders (men's)
|19 January 1984||Francesco Moser||32||Agustín Melgar (333 meters outdoor concrete high-altitude), Mexico City, Mexico||50.808||Bullhorn handlebar, oval steel tubing frame, disc wheels.|
|23 January 1984||Francesco Moser||32||Agustín Melgar (333 meters outdoor concrete high-altitude), Mexico City, Mexico||51.151||Bullhorn handlebar, oval steel tubing frame, disc wheels.|
|17 July 1993||Graeme Obree||27||Vikingskipet (250 meters indoor wood sea-level), Hamar, Norway||51.596||Graeme Obree-style "praying mantis" handlebar, round steel tubing frame, carbon tri-spoke wheels.|
|23 July 1993||Chris Boardman||24||Velodrome du Lac (250 meters indoor wood sea-level), Bordeaux, France||52.270||Triathlon handlebar, carbon airfoil tubing frame, carbon 4-spoke wheels.|
|27 April 1994||Graeme Obree||28||Velodrome du Lac (250 meters indoor wood sea-level), Bordeaux, France||52.713||Graeme Obree-style "praying mantis" handlebar, round steel tubing frame, carbon tri-spoke wheels.|
|2 September 1994||Miguel Indurain||30||Velodrome du Lac (250 meters indoor wood sea-level), Bordeaux, France||53.040||Wide triathlon handlebar, carbon monocoque aero frame, disc wheels.|
|22 October 1994||Tony Rominger||33||Velodrome du Lac (250 meters indoor wood sea-level), Bordeaux, France||53.832||Triathlon handlebar, oval steel tubing frame, disc wheels.|
|5 November 1994||Tony Rominger||33||Velodrome du Lac 250 meters indoor wood sea-level, Bordeaux, France||55.291||Triathlon handlebar, oval steel tubing frame, disc wheels.|
|6 September 1996||Chris Boardman||28||Manchester Velodrome (250 meters indoor wood sea-level), Manchester, UK||56.375||Graeme Obree "superman-style" handlebar, carbon monocoque aero frame, 5-spoke front and rear disc wheel.|
|25 October 1972||Eddy Merckx||27||Agustín Melgar (333 meters outdoor concrete high-altitude), Mexico City, Mexico||49.431||Drop handlebar, round steel tubing frame, wire spokes.|
|27 October 2000||Chris Boardman||32||Manchester Velodrome (250 meters indoor wood sea-level), Manchester, UK||49.441||Drop handlebar, carbon fibre tubing frame, wire spokes.|
|19 July 2005||Ondřej Sosenka||29||Krylatskoye (333 meters indoor wood sea-level), Moscow, Russia||49.700||Drop handlebar, carbon fibre tubing frame, wire spokes.|
Hour record holders (women's)
|20 September 1986||Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli||27||Colorado Springs, USA||44.770|
|23 September 1987||Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli||28||Colorado Springs, USA||44.933|
|1 October 1989||Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli||30||Agustín Melgar Olympic Velodrome, Mexico City, Mexico||44.933|
|29 April 1995||Catherine Marshall||24||Bordeaux, France||47.112||Corima carbon composite bicycle. Corima 12 spoke/Corima disc wheels. Tri-Bar. |
|17 June 1995||Yvonne McGregor||34||Manchester, England||47.411||Terry Dolan bicycle. Cinelli tri-bar, Corima disc wheels|
|26 October 1996||Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli||38||Agustín Melgar Olympic Velodrome, Mexico City, Mexico||48.159|
|25 November 1972||Maria Cressari||Agustín Melgar Olympic Velodrome, Mexico City, Mexico||41.471||4.7-kilogram Colnago, drop handlebars, wire spokes. |
|16 September 1978||Keetie Van Oosten||29||Munich, Germany||43.082||RIH superlight steel frame, drop handlebars, wire spokes. |
|18 October 2000||Anna Wilson-Millward||26||Vodafone Arena, Melbourne, Australia||43.501||Perkins, Columbus steel tubing, box section rims, wire spokes|
|5 November 2000||Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli||42||Agustín Melgar Olympic Velodrome, Mexico City, Mexico||44.767||Drop handlebar, steel tubing frame, wire spokes.|
|7 December 2000||Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli||42||Agustín Melgar, Mexico City, Mexico||45.094||Drop handlebar, steel tubing frame, wire spokes.|
|1 October 2003||Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel||33||Agustín Melgar, Mexico City, Mexico||46.065||Drop handlebar, Koga chromoly tubing frame, box section rims, wire spokes |
UCI unified hour record (2014–present)
Unified rule change (2014)
In 2014, the UCI unified the two classifications into a single classification in line with regulations for current track pursuit bikes. Records previously removed for Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree were returned, however the benchmark record would remain at 49.700 km set in 2005 by Ondrej Sosenka, even though that was not the farthest distance. Under the new regulations riders may use any bike allowed by the UCI standards for endurance track events in place at the time of the attempt. So far, six attempts have been made, three successfully.
Unified hour record attempts (men's)
Following the change in the rules, German Jens Voigt became the first rider to attempt the hour, on 18 September 2014 at the Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen, Switzerland. He set a new record of 51.110 km, beating the previous record set by Sosenka by 1.410 km. On 30 October 2014, Matthias Brändle set a new record of 51.852 km at the World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland. Further attempts by Australians Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, and Thomas Dekker came within a few weeks, between 31 January and 25 February 2015. Dennis was the only one of the three to set a new record, and in doing so broke the 52 km barrier. Dekker's attempt at the Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome was the first attempt to take place at appreciable altitude. Aguascalientes is at 3,050m above sea level, while Melbourne is at only 31m, and, although in Switzerland, Grenchen and Aigle are at 451m and 415m, and not in the mountains. High altitude is thought to result in faster times, providing the rider takes the time to acclimatise to the conditions. This is because the air density decreases with an increase in altitude, which reduces the aerodynamic drag.
Riders are required to be part of the athlete biological passport program. However, of the five men to attempt the record, only one was a cyclist on a UCI World Tour team at the time: Rohan Dennis of the BMC Racing Team. Jens Voigt had recently retired from cycling, last riding with Trek Factory Racing. Matthias Brändle was with IAM Cycling, then a UCI Professional Continental team. Jack Bobridge was on Team Budget Forklifts, an Australian UCI Continental team. Thomas Dekker had been released from World Tour team Garmin-Sharp several months before. Teams are less important in hour record attempts; bike manufacturers are more important; Jens Voigt's bid was supported by Trek Bicycle Corporation, who sponsored his former team, while Rohan Dennis' attempt was sponsored by BMC Trading, who similarly sponsor his team.
|Date||Rider||Age||Velodrome||Distance (km)||Supported by||Equipment||Notes|
|18 September 2014||Jens Voigt||43||Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen, Switzerland||51.110
|Trek Bicycle Corporation||Triathlon handlebar, Trek carbon fibre tubing frame, disc wheels, chain on a 55/14 gear ratio.||First attempt under the new rule-set and oldest record holder at 43 years old and one day.
Set new German national record.
|30 October 2014||Matthias Brändle||24||World Cycling Center, Aigle, Switzerland||51.852
|IAM Cycling||Triathlon handlebar, SCOTT carbon fibre tubing frame, disc wheels, chain on a 55/13 gear ratio.||Set new Austrian national record.|
|31 January 2015||Jack Bobridge||24||Darebin International Sports Centre, Melbourne, Australia||51.300
|Cycling Australia||Triathlon handlebar, SCOTT carbon fibre tubing frame, disc wheels.||Failed to set new hour record.
Beat Brad McGee's previous Australian national record of 50.300 km set in 2000.
|8 February 2015||Rohan Dennis||24||Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen, Switzerland||52.491
|BMC Racing Team||Triathlon handlebar, BMC carbon fibre tubing frame, disc wheels, chain on a 56/14 gear ratio.||Beat Jack Bobridge's previous Australian national record of 51.300 km set in January 2015.|
|25 February 2015||Thomas Dekker||30||Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome, Aguascalientes, Mexico||52.221
|Koga||Koga TeeTeeTrack with Mavic Comete Track wheels, Koga components, Rotor cranks with a KMC (3/32") chain on a 58/14 gear ratio.||First attempt at altitude. Failed to set new hour record.
Set new Dutch national record.
Unified hour record attempts (women's)
In December 2014, it was announced that British Paralympian Sarah Storey would be the first woman to attempt the record following the unified rule change. She attempted the record on 28 February 2015 at Lee Valley Velo Park, London setting new British, Para-Cycling and Masters Age 35-39 records but missing out on the Elite record with a distance of 45.502km. British Olympian Joanna Rowsell has also expressed interest in attempting to break the record.
Since the rule change in 2014, American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling has twice set new US Records. The first was December 15, 2014 in Carson, California with a distance of 44.173km. The second was February 25, 2015 in Aguascalientes, Mexico, with a distance of 45.637 km. This mark was a new Pan-American record as well as a World Masters Age 40-44 and a US Elite record. Van Houweling is currently not eligible to set a UCI elite mark as she is not part of the athlete biological passport program. 
|Date||Rider||Age||Velodrome||Distance (km)||Supported by||Equipment||Notes|
|28 February 2015||Sarah Storey||37||Lee Valley VeloPark, London, United Kingdom||45.502
|Revolution Series||Ridley Arena Carbon track bike with triathlon bars, Pro rear disc wheel, front disk wheel, Shimano Dura-Ace groupset.||Beat Yvonne McGregor's previous national record of 43.689 set in April 2002. New C5 Para-record, New Masters Age 35-39 record.|
The above chart depicts the progression of the Womens Hour record over time (click to enlarge). Red markers indicate attempts made under the UCI best human effort rulesBlue markers indicate attempts made under the UCI hour record rules and green markers indicate attempts made under the Unified rules
|11 September 1991||Jan Mulder||Moscow, Russia||48.696||Blind Pilot||Tandem with pilot (Richard Belmer) - Best Hour Performance|
|11 November 1994||Fransisco Trujillo||Bordeaux, France||44.661||C5||Bicycle - Best Hour Performance|
|25 September 1995||Thomas Evans||Manchester, England||40.070||CP3||Bicycle - Best Hour Performance|
|29 November 1997||Herve Dechamp||Bordeaux, France||49.625||Blind Pilot||Tandem with pilot (Guy Rouchouzo) - Best Hour Performance|
|6 November 1999||Laurent Thirionet||Bordeaux, France||41.031||C2||Bicycle - Best Hour Performance|
|8 January 2005||Darren Kenny||Manchester, England||41.817||C3||Bicycle - Best Hour Performance|
|8 May 2005||Michael Teuber||Augsburg, Germany||39.326||C1||Bicycle - Best Hour Performance|
|14 February 2009||Darren Kenny||Copenhagen, Denmark||40.516||CP3||Bicycle - Absolute Hour Record|
|19 September 2005||Lindy Hou||Sydney, Australia||42.930||Blind Pilot||Tandem with pilot (Toireasa Gallagher) - Absolute Hour Record|
|28 February 2015||Sarah Storey||London, England||45.502||C5||Bicycle - First record under unified rules.|
Hour record gallery
The previous UCI unified hour record holder, Jens Voigt, during his successful attempt on 18 September 2014.
The bike Jens Voigt used in his record attempt.
- The Historical Dictionary of Cycling. (Jeroen Heijmans, Bill Mallon) lists three further records after Dodds but before Herbert Cortis. Listed only by surname, 1877, Shopee in Cambridge, 26.960, 1878, Weir, in Oxford, 28.542 and Christie, in 1879, 30.374, also in Oxford.
- "Berthet/Egg Hour Record". Oscar Egg's original distance was recorded at 42.122 km. In July 1913 Richard Weise beat this mark, but following protest from Egg the Buffalo track was re-measured and his time changed to 42.360 km, cancelling out Weise's record
- "The history of the recumbent bicycle". On 7 July 1933 Francis Faure rode 45.055 km on a "Velocar" beating Egg's record. This led to the UCI imposing rules regarding bicycle dimensions on 1 April 1934 and Faure's record was moved into a new category, "Records Set By Human Powered Vehicles (HPV's) without Special Aerodynamic Features"
- Mallon, Jeroen Heijmans, Bill. Historical dictionary of cycling. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 0810873699.
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- Clemitson, Suze (19 September 2014). "Why Jens Voigt and a new group of cyclists want to break the Hour record". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Stephen Farrand. "Gallery: Francesco Moser's hour record". Cyclingnews.com.
- "Chronic of the Hour Record". Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- "World Hour Records". Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- "Bike Cult - Sports Records". bikecult.
- "Maria Cressari".
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- CyclingTips. "Dekker to bid for world hour record at altitude in Mexico at end of February". cyclingtips.com.au.
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- Michael Pavitt. "Bobridge falls agonisingly short in attempt to break cycling hour record". insidethegames.biz - Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games News.
- "BBC Sport - Alex Dowsett: Hour record bid at London velodrome postponed". BBC Sport.
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- Editor. "Jack Bobridge set for Hour Record attempt". roadcycling.co.nz.
- Zeb Woodpower. "Jack Bobridge Hour Record attempt 2015: Results - Cyclingnews.com". Cyclingnews.com.
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- UCI hour records
- Bike Cult listing of Hour records including data on machines and athlete
- Hour records with pictures of Vehicles
- A recent timeline of the Hour Record from Cycling Weekly
- A history of the womens Hour Record from Cyclingtips