Ole Ritter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ole Ritter
Ole Ritter 1970.jpg
Ole Ritter c. 1970
Personal information
Full name Ole Jørgen Phister Ritter[1]
Born (1941-08-29) 29 August 1941 (age 75)
Slagelse, Denmark
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road & Track
Role Rider
Rider type Time trial
Professional team(s)
1967–1970 Germanvox
1971–1972 Dreher
1973 Bianchi
1974–1975 Filotex
1976–1977 Sanson

Ole Ritter (born 29 August 1941) is a former Danish racing cyclist, mainly known for breaking the hour record in 1968.[2]

Amateur years[edit]

As an amateur he rode for ABC Denmark. His breakthrough came in 1962 where he won 2 silver medals at the world championship in Italy, Individual & 100 km team time trial. Ritter took part in the 1964 Summer Olympics. He rode the individual road race and finished in 74th place, and was part of the Danish team in the team time trial that finished seventh.[1]

He became Danish champion twice (1962 and 1966), and Scandinavian champion once (1966)[3]and in 1965 went to Italy to break the world record on the 100 km.[2]

Professional years[edit]

In 1967 he became professional in Italy with the Germanvox-Wega team and his career took off. He won the individual time trial in the Giro d'Italia in front of Rudi Altig, Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil. This time trial was just short of one hour, and Anquetil remarked that Ritter would have broken the hour record.[2]

In 1968 he went to Mexico City before the Olympic Games, to accompany the Italian amateur cyclists and help them get used to the altitude.[2] Since time on the track was scarce, the Italian team did not want to give Ritter much track time. On the day before the Olympics started, Ritter was allowed to ride in the morning, and he beat the hour record.[2] He was the first rider to take the record at altitude since Willie Hamilton in 1898. He covered 48.653 km and it took four years and Eddy Merckx to beat it (49.431 km in 1972).

In 1974 at the age of 33 he went to Mexico again and beat his personal record twice in a week, with 48.739 and 48.879 km.

Grand Tours[edit]

Ritter finished 47th in the 1975 Tour de France. He rode the Giro d'Italia nine times, and is the Danish rider with the best GC finish (seventh, in 1973) and the most stage wins (three).[4]


  • GP Diessenhofen
  • 3rd stage Tour of Apulië
  • GP Lugano

Other achievements[edit]

Near the end of his career, Ritter again became a Danish cycling hero when six-day racing returned to the country. He won three races: in 1974 and 1975 in Herning with Dutchman Leo Duyndam and in 1977 in Forum with Belgian six-day star Patrick Sercu. Ritter's last sixth-day race was in Copenhagen in 1978.[4]


Stars and Watercarriers (Danish: Stjernerne og vandbærerne), a 1974 film by Danish director Jørgen Leth, follows Ritter's fortunes in the 1973 Giro d'Italia. The film provides insight into a three-week stage race, dramatizing the roles and aims of different riders in the race. The heartbreak of the mountain stages, the intensity of the time trial (known as "the race of truth"), quiet moments on the road and the mundane daily signing-in are all part of the film. Ritter is featured in the time-trial segment, with his technical, physical and psychological preparations and later performance detailed to the accompaniment of a single, prolonged violin note.[5]

A 1974 Danish documentary, The Impossible Hour (Danish: Den umulige time), explores Ritter's attempt to regain the one-hour distance record in Mexico City.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Ole Ritter Bio, Stats and Results". Sports Reference. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ole Ritter – The mysterious hour record setter". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. 8 February 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.cykelsiderne.net/coureurfiche.php?coureurid=4502#uitslagen
  4. ^ a b Ole Ritter. cyclingarchives.com
  5. ^ Stars and Watercarriers. IMDB
  6. ^ The Impossible Hour (1974). IMDB
Preceded by
Ferdi Bracke
UCI hour record (48.653 km)
10 October 1968 – 25 October 1972
Succeeded by
Eddy Merckx