Achieving the goal he announced earlier this month, Jens Voigt entered a very select group of riders in breaking the world hour record in Switzerland today.
The Trek Factory Racing rider clocked up an impressive 51.115 kilometres in his effort on the Grenchen track, beating the previous record of 49.7 kilometres. This was set by the Czech Ondrej Sosenka on a standard bike on July 19, 2005 in Moscow.
Voigt turned 43 years of age on Wednesday, one day prior to his effort, and his beating of the record was the final point in a long pro career.
The resurgence of interest in the hour record came after a change in the UCI presidency one year ago. Brian Cookson’s tenure saw a relaxation of the UCI rules, thus meaning riders were no longer being required to use the same sort of bike as used by Eddy Merckx in 1972.
This enabled Voigt to use an aerodynamic frame, twin disk wheels and tri bars, and helped him in his task today.
Voigt’s effort was precisely calculated and, employing the negative split technique, he accelerated towards the end and pushed the average speed over 51 kilometres per hour.
This resulted in a final finishing distance of 51.115, 1.415 kilometres further than Sosenka’s record, and moved the hour record into a new era.
“I knew it was the last time in my life that I had to push like this. Because it was the last time, it was easy to turn myself inside out,” he said afterwards.
“My strategy was quote conservative. I went too quick at the beginning, then I had to slow down. But then 20 minutes from the end I decided to accelerate. I started pushing it as I was well within my comfort zone. In the end, going over 51 kilometres is much faster than I expected. I am really, really satisfied.
“We will see what happens with the other riders out there.”
He thanked the fans for their support, saying that they were vital to his record. He said he believed their cheers were worth half a kilometre.
Voigt will now retire from the sport, one month after he was originally scheduled to do so. He said that taking a place in the history of one of the most hallowed challenges in cycling was something he was extremely proud of.
“Now I am on the list, nobody is going to strike me off it. To be up there with like of Eddy Merckx, Boardman, Indurain…it’s one of the biggest highlights of my career.”