Maybe it was the time of year and the fact that with most cycling done for the season I wasn’t following the news quite as closely over the past couple of weeks as I might otherwise have done, and so forgot all about Matthias Brandle’s World Hour attempt until he was some fifty minutes into it. Maybe it was just me but the entire build up certainly seemed to fly well under the cycling radar, at least in comparison to Jens Voigt’s effort just a month or so ago.
It certainly didn’t have the fanfare and perhaps that was because Jens got out ahead of the field and was the first man to tackle the record in many years coupled with the fact it was the final ride of what had been a celebrated career by the German rider. But perhaps Brandle preferred the comparative lack of attention until he was sure he had it beat, and even that wasn’t for sure until the final minutes when nothing shy of a crash could stop him.
By then I was right into it. Feeling bad that I hadn’t paid more attention to the build-up but glad that I was seeing a part of it. A fine effort by the Austrian who at just 24 years of age surely has his best cycling years ahead of him, in stark contrast to Voigt. 51.852km was the distance covered in the hour – 742 metres better than Voigt – and while the numbers are staggering, I’d be a fool to say that this is a record that will stand any great length of time.
When Jens Voigt kick-started this World Hour fever for the first time since the early to mid-90s when it was tackled six times over a sixteen month period, it became obvious that others would line up to take a shot at it, especially now that the UCI have relaxed the kind of bike you can use. It was this rule change that inspired Voigt and no doubt Brandle and I believe it will do the same for Sir Bradley Wiggins next year and no doubt the likes of Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara.
It’s great to see though I just hope that the lack of attention on Brandles effort by comparison to Voigt’s isn’t a signal of coverage to come now that the idea of someone tacking the record isn’t quite as unique as it was when Voigt came out of nowhere to take it on for the first time since Ondřej Sosenka in July 2005.
I don’t think so though. There may not have been the same build-up to Brandle’s go, but that is also in part due to the time of year (nobody since Ferdi Bracke on the same day in 1967 has done it so late in the cycling season, though Boardman did it on 27 October 2000) and the fact he is still a rider making a name for himself in the sport. In breaking the hour record he has certainly now made that name…early reports suggest his following on Twitter has doubled in the twenty-four hours it has been since he set the new milestone.
When the likes of Wiggins, Taylor Phinney, Martin or Cancellara (here’s hoping they all do) step up, the hype will be at levels of fever pitch; or is it fever track?
Brandle’s record should see out 2014 and last longer than Voigt’s did, but with all due respect to him, it’s hard to see how someone like Wiggin’s won’t smash the current mark by quite a stretch when he takes his turn in 2015. The good thing for Brandle however, unlike Voigt, is that in due course, as his career progresses and he becomes a better rider, he may well, feel the urge to go again.