Dennis Breaks World Hour Record
Team BMC Racing's Rohan Dennis established a new UCI world hour record Sunday, powering his BMC trackmachine TR01 a distance of 52.491 kilometers to better the previous mark by 639 meters.
He became the first rider to surpass the 52 km threshold since the UCI unified two classifications into a single category last year and in line with regulations for current track pursuit bikes.
"There was a lot of pain. I couldn't really enjoy it too much to be honest," Dennis said moments after hoisting the winning bike overhead as the crowd at Velodrome Suisse roared. "I am pretty tired, but really, really proud. With BMC, they made it easy. The whole week leading into this since the Tour Down Under was very stressful. But there was no pressure. Everything went perfectly. It almost feels too easy. But obviously, it wasn't."
Dennis, who rode for Team Garmin - Sharp - POC before switching to Team BMC mid-season last year, said he exceeded all of his pacing marks immediately after 2011 Tour de France winner and 2009 world road champion Cadel Evans fired the starting gun. At the halfway point, he was 20 seconds faster than Matthias Brändle, the previous record holder, who rode 51.852 kilometer in October last year.
I was probably going a little bit too hard the first half, but I was pretty comfortable," Dennis said. "I got halfway and was still good. I thought my pacing was fine. Then, we decided after halfway we would squeeze it a little bit and try to pick it up by point one, point two (seconds) for the lap, which was really what I was holding the whole first half anyway. So I just held the same pace. The last 50 laps we basically decided it was going to be max anyway."
The landmark achievement continued a string of early-season successes for Dennis. Two weeks ago, he won a stage and the Santos Tour Down Under overall. That followed a runner-up finish at the Australian national time trial championships in early January. His victory at the Santos Tour Down Under earned him the No. 1 ranking in the UCI WorldTour standings. Last September, he was part of the BMC Racing Team's victorious squad at the world team time trial championships in Spain.
"To pull it off is a huge relief," Dennis said. "But also I feel really proud about what the team has achieved over the last three or four months together leading up to this."
BMC Racing Team President and General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the achievement ranks among the top performances he has been a part of during his more than 40 years in the sport of cycling.
"He did it by a large enough margin where the next person who is going to go after it has to be awfully good that day to break that record right now," Ochowicz said. "This hour record has really improved another level in the racing for the professionals. For us as a team, coming out of the Tour Down Under - Rohan winning that race and Cadel coming in third - and being the number 1 in the world right now. This is just another demonstration of what we are doing as a team and 2015 looks like a pretty good year so far."
Current UCI President Brian Cookson also extended his congratulations to Dennis.
"Rohan's performance is absolutely stellar," Cookson said. "He is the first rider to top the 52 kilometer mark. This performance is an indication of how good he is at the start of the season, confirming his demonstration at the Tour Down Under. Rohan is literally hitting the gas. I am delighted to see riders from outside Europe having a crack at this legendary record. I just can't wait to see more attempts coming soon both on the men's and women's UCI hour record. It is great news for fans of our iconic event."
BMC Racing Team sponsor Andy Rihs said he was proud to see the record fall at the velodrome he helped create.
"This is a very proud day for me, for BMC Switzerland and for the BMC Racing Team," Rihs explained. "Since the Velodrome Suisse was built, I have dreamed of one day having a BMC Racing Team rider break this historical record on its boards. Track cycling is a fundamental in a country like Switzerland where the winters can be harsh. Hopefully, this will inspire some young, enthusiastic Swiss cyclists to follow in Rohan's footsteps."
If you like track cycling, stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for video highlights from the 2015 UCI Track World Championships that take place from February 18-22. Track World Championship videos will be available in our videos section and viewable from within the USA.
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