News for October 27, 1996

Longo breaks the Hour Record

French cyclist Jeannie Longo defied the elements to smash the women's world one-hour cycling record Saturday.

Longo covered a distance of 48.159 km (29.92 miles), comfortably beating the previous record of 47.411 km (29.46 miles) set by Briton Yvonne McGregor in Manchester, England on June 17, 1995.

``I am happy, and I am happy for my husband, because it was his idea. I didn't want to try to it again, because I am too nervous. The record really stressed me. He pushed me to come here,'' Longo told reporters beside the track.

Longo's long career -- she will be 38 in two days -- includes a record 11 world championship wins.

She explained that she had had to wait longer than she would have liked before starting her attempt, until the humidity fell and the temperature rose. This, however, entailed the risk of wind, which had foiled a previous try Wednesday.

The wind did blow a little 15 minutes into her race against the clock, but later subsided and Longo said conditions were ``almost perfect.''

Asked why she had chosen Mexico's outdoor cement track rather than Manchester's newer indoor wooden surface, where both the men's and women's hour records had been set, Longo said she liked the altitude.

``I like this track... I like altitude. I was brought up in the mountains, near Grenoble,'' she explained.

Although Longo had said earlier she would have been happy to break the record by just one meter, she clearly aimed to break the 48-km barrier from the start. She was urged on by her husband and trainer, who shouted her average speed to her every lap.

The Mexican Olympic Committee track was attended by a small but enthusiastic contingent of reporters, officials and friends of Longo. The closing minutes were livened, however, by other athletes who halted their training to applaud her every lap as she neared the record.

The hour record is the blue ribbon of cycling titles and crowns a remarkable season which has also seen Longo win an Olympic gold road race medal, the world time trial championship and the prestigious Grand Prix des Nations.

Longo said she would attempt the 5,000-meter record later this year, but had yet to decide whether she would retire afterwards.

``Give me the winter to make up my mind,'' she said. ``I know this record will be broken by somebody else, but for the time being, it's good for me.''


French cyclist Jeannie Longo broke the women's hour world record here on Saturday, the sixth time in 10 years, covering 48.159km -- and said her husband was the inspiration behind it.

"I was really stressed out about whether I should make an attempt or not but Patrice motivated me to go ahead and I dedicate this record to him," Longo said.

Longo, 38, broke the record previously held by Britain's Yvonne McGregor of 47.411km in June 1995 in Manchester.

Longo, the reigning Olympic champion, was always ahead of schedule, on the same track she previously broke the record back in 1989.

Her only worrying moment was after 20 kilometres when she dipped below the 48km per hour mark.

"I was a little worried at that point as the wind was getting up, but once it settled down I was in full control," Longo said.

The Frenchwoman, who had originally denied she had come to Mexico to attempt to break the record, upped her speed to 48km after 30 kilometres and sauntered home in the final 10km's at 48.064km per hour.