World Hour Record attempt

Manchester, England, September 12, 2001

Information about the attempt

Live report - Leontien chases the "hour"

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Leontien during the hour attempt at Manchester
Photo: Gerry Penny, AFP

Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel has chosen the Manchester Velodrome for her attempt on the World Hour Record. The current Olympic Women's 3000m Individual Pursuit Champion and World Record holder will make her assault on Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli's distance of 45.094 kilometres on September 12.

Her attempt on the Hour Record is being sponsored by the Dutch energy company, called Eneco Energie. Manchester was chosen by Leontien due to the lack of similar facilities in her native Holland and because of Manchester's reputation as one of the world's fastest tracks. At present, Manchester has held five successful world record attempts, a feat shared by only one other track in Mexico.

The original record is 43.08292 km, set by Cornelia Van Oosten-Hage on September 16, 1978 using a standard track bike. On October 18 last year, a new hour record was set by Australian rider Anna Millward (then Wilson) who actually finished the hour fractionally after the finish line of lap 174, but the exact distance was calculated on the basis of her subsquent lap: 43.501 kilometres.

This record was subsequently bettered by Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli who covered 45.094 km on December 7, 2000 at altitude in Mexico City.

The choice of bicycle is limited by the UCI's strict new regulations. At the time of Anna Millward's attempt, the UCI commissaire, Karen O'Callaghan, said the frame has to be triangular, made of steel, with tubes between 2.5 and 8 cm thickness. The wheels have to be identically sized, with no fewer than 18 (unbladed) spokes and the rim no deeper than 13mm.

Start: 15.00 Europe CET

Leontien has started and has covered the first five kilometres in 6.33 (Longo's time 6.43).

After the first 10 km, Leontien had taken 13.14, still ahead of Longo who had taken 13.21 to do the first 10km.

But then by the first 15km, Leontien had begun to slip behind the Frenchwoman's time, taking 20.12, whereas Longo had covered this distance in 19.59.

Some more history on the world Women's Hour Record (old UCI-rules)
Longo - Colorado Springs September 20, 1986: 44,933 km
Longo - Mexico City October 1, 1989: 46,353 km
Marsal - Bordreaux April 28, 1995: 47,112 km
McGregor - Manchester June 16, 1995: 47,411 km
Longo - Mexico City October 26, 1996: 48,159 km (new UCI-rules)
Wilson - Melbourne October 18, 2000: 43,501 km
Longo - Mexico City November 5, 2000: 44,767 km
Longo - Mexico City December 7, 2000: 45,094 km

15.27 Europe CET

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As she approaches the first half hour of this torture test, Leontien had covered 20 km in 27.13, which is 36 seconds slower than Longo's past record, where the Frenchwoman had covered the same distance in 26.37.

Last week Leontien had a heavy cold ("it often happens I have a cold before important races") and arrived in Manchester on Monday and trained for one hour on the track. On Tuesday she trained a little on the hometrainer but spent most of her time resting. Speaking about the attempt, Leontien said: "I expect I have to go through hell for one hour. My sisters made the comparison with having a baby. But when I break that world record of Longo, I will forget all the pain in one second."

Van Moorsel (a six-times world champion) hasn't ridden a time trial of one hour, but was close to it last Friday on the track in Buttgen. "My heartbeat was low, but it felt or I had 190. I wanted to stop after two laps. I had to change my roadlegs to tracklegs, power for speed. And that means pain." On Sunday she did 180 laps in different blocks. Her father Harry said later it was a terrifying impression for him. Never before had he seen his daughter going so deep.

15.34 Europe CET

It seems that Leontien's earlier efforts are having their toll, as she completed 25km in 34.13, now 58 seconds behind Longo's record, who covered the same distance in 33.15.

When Longo set her record, she did an average laptime of 19.93 seconds. Leontien wants to do 250 meters more than the 45,094 km with laps of 19.9. "I want to start with laps of 19.5. And when i can do that for a while, it's good for the morale. And than you have to wait for the men with the hammer."

Prior to the start, van Moorsel said that only with dramatic laptimes in the beginning would she stop early. Van Moorsel received a letter by the UCI with the hourtime of Keetie van Oosten-Hagen on September 16, 1978 in Munchen: 43,083 km. With the new UCI-rules this time is the European record at this moment. Van Moorsel: "I'm still impressed about that race. Keetie worked normal in an office for a week and took the plane on Friday afternoon with the wheels in her hands during the flight. One day later she broke in Munchen a record." The preparations were fine: "I sleep well, dreaming of good legs. Good legs and a new world record time of 45,863. In my dreams I see that time with my name on the scoreboard."

15.41 Europe CET

At the 30km point, Leontien had taken 41.13, which is now 1.20 slower than Longo's comparative time of 39.53. It seems that she may be going for the European record, as the world record looks unlikely. By the 35km point, her time was 48.10, which is 1.39 behind Longo's record time for the same distance of 46.31.

To get ideal conditions, the lamps in the Velodrome in Manchester were on for one and a half hours before the start. Then twenty minutes before the start the lamps were dimmed. The Velodrome-track was built in 1993 and the 250 metre wooden track is made from Siberian fir-trees. The conditions in the velodrome included a relative air pressure at 40%, temperature of 25 degrees and banked curves at 44 degrees. The plan was average laptimes of 19.8 seconds, at 181 laps = 45,454 kilometres.

Leontien's bike is a Koga Miyata frame made from aluminium, with a frame size of 51 cm, 40cm handlebars with an 18-spoke front wheel and 24-spoke rear, running 165 gram tubulars. For the attempt Leontien is using a 54 x 15 gear, equal to 1.01 metres.

15.55 Europe CET

As Leontien covered 40km, the record was slipping further away, as she had taken 55.11. At the 40km point, Longo's record time was 53.09, putting Leontien 2.02 behind.

16.00 Europe CET

The gun fires after one hour of torture, and Leontien had covered 43.47591. This means she has beaten the European hour record set by Keetie van Oosten-Hagen on September 16, 1978 in Munchen of 43.083 km, but the world hour record remains with the Frenchwoman Longo.

Leontien's attempt is also slightly behind that set by Anna Millward in October last year, who did just over 174 laps of the new velodrome in Melbourne, Australia, when she covered 43.501 kilometres for the hour. Longo's record of 45.094 was set at altitude in Mexico City last December.

After the attempt, van Moorsel said the break came at the eighth kilometre into the hour, which was when she started to lose time on the target she had set based on Longo's current record. A new attempt will be made at altitude in Mexico City, but no date has been announced.


An interview with Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel