The Hour of Wiggins
...has finally arrived!
After weeks of preparations, riding a prototype Pinarello worth €200,000, heating the "quick" velodrome in London, wearing socks with graduated compression, a special body suit and giving up the beard, Wiggo printed 54.526 Km in his successful attempt of the Hour Record.
Nothing was left to chance: hypoxia, nitrate and bicarbonate in the weeks and days prior to the attempt have definitely helped, but the target announced (55,250 Km) and the ghost of Rominger remained quite far.
After the attempt, successful but not as exciting and "unreachable for 20 years" as he hoped, the British track cyclist indicated the air pressure being too high (1,036 mB) as the possible cause of the performance being below expectations.
In my opinion it was the high temperature (28-30° C), artificially raised by his staff, to be responsible for the rhythm being always lower than the preset speed in the timetable and the decline in the second part of the effort.
Similarly, the high temperature (30° C) was in my opinion the reason of Thomas Dekker's failure at altitude, in Mexico, a few weeks ago.
I participated in the preparation of 9 (nine) Hour Record attempts, 7 with Francesco Moser and 2 with Tony Rominger and I was able to verify that the ideal temperature for the Record is 21-23° C.
I particularly remember the failed attempt of Moser in Moscow, partly because of too high temperature (27° C) and a track that was too long.
It is no coincidence that many Records were made in autumn (September to November) or even winter.
Temperatures below 16-18° C make the attempt impervious: Miguel Indurain in Colombia in 1995 was forced to abort the attempt after only 15 minutes (at a pace of little more than 52 km/h) due to the cold and too optimistic a forecast of 57 km/h based on calculations that were obviously incorrect.