Jens Voigt Hour Record Attempt

Retiring strongman and cycling superstar Jens Voigt has announced that he will be making an attempt at the Hour Record on September 18th. In a letter to Trek Factory Racing email subscribers emailed on September 3rd, Jens announced:

On September 18 in Grenchen, Switzerland, I am going to attempt to break the hour record mark of 49,7 km, previously set by Ondrej Sosenka. It’s a huge challenge for me, both physical and mental. This is a huge project and probably it’s going to come as a surprise for many people. We have been doing some discrete tests in the velodrome in Roubaix prior to the Dauphiné and we believe that I have a fair chance.

(Full email text at the bottom of this article)

Arguably the “ultimate time trial” in cycling, the hour record is an event staged on a velodrome where a single rider attempts to cover the greatest distance possible in one hour. Past record holders have included Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurian and “The Flying Scotsman” Graeme Obree.

Jens is scheduled to start his attempt at 7pm local time, at Velodrome Suisse.

Hello friends,
Jensie here. I have big news, and I want Trek Factory Racing fans to be the first to hear it from me:

On September 18 in Grenchen, Switzerland, I am going to attempt to break the hour record mark of 49,7 km, previously set by Ondrej Sosenka. It’s a huge challenge for me, both physical and mental. This is a huge project and probably it’s going to come as a surprise for many people. We have been doing some discrete tests in the velodrome in Roubaix prior to the Dauphiné and we believe that I have a fair chance.

It’s a fascinating event: it’s super hard, but it’s a great discipline. Man and machine against the clock. A lot of logistics comes in play: when, where, how, etc. But I didn’t have to convince anybody: both Trek and our GM Luca Guercilena were all exited when I told them about my idea. They gave me a lot of support. Luckily we could use some of the blueprints that were being drawn for Fabian, so we kind of hit the ground running.

I look at this as one last present for my fans. I want to give them something to smile about – before the final curtain falls. But also: I want to do a good performance. This is not a circus act. The ‘hour’ has lost some of its magic over the last years. Maybe my attempt could kick off a new round of hour-record attempts. I could establish a mark for everyone to give it a try. Make a bridge, you know. I raced against Boardman, Indurain and Sosenka. And I’m racing with Fabian and his generation. If I make it, it would be sandwiched between those names. I can pave the way for them. I have no illusion to keep the record once Fabian and other specialists start having a go. But I kind of like the idea of telling me grand children about it, when they sit on my lap when I’m 75.

Trek developed a really good bike for me, based on the super fast SpeedConcept, and we did some testing with different skin suits, helmets, positions, etc. I’m training very hard for the attempt. I have the Tour de France as a base layer and then I did some altitude racing in Utah and Colorado. My near-win in Colorado Springs, where I was caught with 700 meters to go, was a good reference in terms of power output. I basically was out there for one hour by myself. I had this attempt in mind that very day, besides taking the stage, of course.

Why I do this? Why not! Everyone saw the memo from the UCI. It’s been four months and I honestly find it quite strange that nobody has given it a try so far. We have 18 WorldTour teams, plus more than a 1000 pro continental riders and an immense group of amateurs that also can have a go. I’m not to blame that I take the chances that life – or in this case the UCI – gives me. I’m the first one that’s brave enough to do it. Everybody had the same time frame to be ready for it.

The hour record is one of the oldest events in our sport. I want to put a little bit of light and focus on this. The UCI wanted to give back some recognition to the event and I follow their reasoning. It will be no pleasure cruise, but I’m really convinced that I can make it. It’s never 100 percent sure, of course, but I worked hard and I will keep working hard until the day is there.

I always ride my best when you are cheering for me, so I’m asking you to cheer one more time. Join me at the Velodrome Suisse by getting tickets at the link below, or join the conversation on Twitter with #HourRecord.

Best,
Jens Voigt