Miguel Indurain breaking the Hour Record

Miguel Indurain breaking the Hour Record (video)

Today’s historic photo of the day: 20 years ago today, on September 2, 1994, Miguel Indurain broke the Hour Record at Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux. While breaking the record, Indurain covered 53.040 km in an hour. The previous record was Graeme Obree’s 52.713 km, achieved in April 24, 1994, at the same place.

The hour record for bicycles is the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour on a bicycle.

Miguel Indurain breaking the Hour Record
Miguel Indurain breaking the Hour Record in September 2, 1994. Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux. Indurain covered 53.040 km in an hour.

Indurain rode the famous “Pinarello Sword” time trial bike to break the record, which is a conceptional bike that took 5-time Tour de France winner Indurain to some of his most impressive time-trial wins.

Indurain’s Hour Record didn’t last long, just 51 days later, Tony Rominger broke the record with covering 53.832 km in an hour at the same place, Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux.

Over the last two decades, Hour Record has lost its popularity among the Grand Tour general classification contenders. The last grand tour winner who broke the Hour Record was Tony Rominger, he broke the record second time in November 5, 1994.

Example UCI Hour record-holders

Date Rider Age  Velodrome Distance (km)  Equipment
October 25, 1972 Eddy Merckx 27 Mexico City 49.431 drop handlebar/round steel tubing frame/wire spokes
January 23, 1984 Francesco Moser 32 Mexico City 51.151 bull-horn handlebar/oval steel tubing frame/disk wheels
July 17, 1993 Graeme Obree 27 Vikingskipet, Hamar, Norway 51.596 Graeme Obree-style “praying mantis” handlebar/round steel tubing frame/carbon tri-spoke wheels
July 23, 1993 ChrisBoardman 24 Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux 52.270 triathlon handlebar/carbon airfoil tubing frame/carbon 4-spoke wheels
January 15, 1994 Francesco Moser 42 Mexico City 51.840 Graeme Obree-style “praying mantis” handlebar/chest-pad on top frame/wheels unknown – UCI VETERAN’s RECORD [*]
April 27, 1994 Graeme Obree 28 Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux 52.713 Graeme Obree-style “praying mantis” handlebar/round steel tubing frame/carbon tri-spoke wheels
September 2, 1994 Miguel Indurain 30 Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux 53.040 wide triathlon handlebar/carbon monocoque aero frame/disk wheels
October 22, 1994 Tony Rominger 33 Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux 53.832 triathlon handlebar/oval steel tubing frame/disk wheels
November 5, 1994 Tony Rominger 33 Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux 55.291 triathlon handlebar/oval steel tubing frame/disk wheels
September 6, 1996 Chris Boardman 28 Manchester, UK 56.375 Graeme Obree “superman-style” handlebar/carbon monocoque aero frame/5-spoke front & rear disk wheels

With the increasing gap between modern bicycles and what was available at the time of Merckx’s record, the UCI established two records:

  1. the UCI Hour Record (which restricts competitors to roughly the same equipment as Merckx, disallowing time trial helmets, disc or tri-spoke wheels, aero bars and monocoque frames)
  2. the Best Human Effort – sometimes termed the UCI “Absolute” Record.

All 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. At 200 cm (6 ft 6¾ in) tall, Sosenka used an unusual saddle position and a small vertical frame height to stay within UCI regulations. Sosenka failed a doping control in 2001 and then again in 2008, the latter resulting in a career ending in suspension which puts in doubt the validity of his record.

But in 2014 it was announced that the UCI are planning to unify the classifications into a single classification in line with regulations for current track pursuit bikes. Records previously removed for Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree would be returned, however the current record would remain at 49.700 km set in 2005 by Ondřej Sosenka, even though that is not the fastest time.

[*] The veteran’s record set by Moser in 1994 was faster than his more celebrated record in 1984, when he used a bullhorn handlebar, steel airfoil tubing, disk wheels and skinsuit. Moser was inspired by Obree’s bike and wanted a copy. The bike Moser rode on his veteran’s record had a praying mantis handlebar and Obree-style frame, with a chest-pad addition. It was also faster than Obree’s first record in 1993. Had Moser ridden Obree’s bike before Obree did, Moser might have held the official record at age 42. Moser was riding before UCI rule changes were to be put in effect by May 7 of that year. These were to out-law the Obree praying mantis style.

Movistar tweet about Miguel Indurain's Hour Record
Looks like things between Movistar and Pinarello did not end well: Movistar tweets about the 20th year from Indurain 1994 hour record and PHOTOSHOPS the photo to CANCEL “Pinarello” from the image. The Original photo is below.
Miguel Indurain breaking the Hour Record
Miguel Indurain breaking the Hour Record

Sources

  • Hour Record on wiki