Trek Bicycles is starting the week with a bang by inviting spectators from around the globe to view time trial world champion Ellen van Dijk take a shot at the UCI Hour Record.
Van Dijk, a time-trial specialist for team Trek-Segrafredo, has just 60 minutes to put the throttle down and pass the current women’s record of 48.405 km.
That record belongs to Joscelin Lowden of Great Britain, who set the scorching pace in September 2021.
The hour record holds a longstanding place in cycling culture as a feat that only the fastest riders hope to accomplish. The premise is simple: ride a bicycle as far as possible in a single hour.
Cyclists have been taking their shot at the record since the late 1800s. The modern contest comes with strict UCI rules. Cyclists must start from a stationary position and make their attempt in a velodrome.
They must hold a precise line around the track to keep pace with the clock, all while throwing in their absolute maximum effort.
Van Dijk currently wears the rainbow UCI world champion jersey for the time trial discipline. Should she succeed, the accomplishment would tack on to a long list of accomplishments for the 35-year-old Dutchwoman.
She held the title of UCI world champion in the Scratch race in track cycling in 2008, the individual road time trial in 2013 and 2021, and team time trial in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017, according to UCI.org. She is also the current European road race champion.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very long time. The hour record is something that I have always said I wanted to do one day and now that day is finally here. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about doing it, a mix of excitement and nerves which is normal. You are always just on the edge with big challenges, and this is a huge challenge, so it is going to be exciting and frightening at the same time,” she told Trek-Segrafredo.
For the attempt, van Dijk will employ a custom-painted Trek Speed Concept with a hefty helping of flair to mark the occasion.
Female cyclists have found new world record-breaking pace in the UCI Hour Record challenge five times since 2014.
Molly Schaffer Van Houweling edged out the previous record set in 2003, reaching 46.273 km during her attempt in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Cyclists continued to push the distance ever so slightly further over the next few years. Bridie O’Donnell hit 46.882 km in 2016, followed by Evelyn Stevens’ mark of 47.980 km the same year. Vittoria Bussi took the record in 2018 at 48.007 km in 2018 but was dethroned by Lowden in 2021.
Van Dijk’s attempt will kick off at 10 a.m. CDT from the Tissot Velodrome in Grenchen, Switzerland. Tissot also will time the attempt.
Trek-Segafredo’s 2021 Paris-Roubaix Femmes champ Lizzie Deignan will provide commentary on the live broadcast, along with Jens Voigt.
Through a partnership with Swiss charity Greenhope, those watching the broadcast or attending for free in person can make donations to help organize fun events for children with cancer. Trek will match the total amount of donations received.
Trek will stream the event via YouTube.