UCI Hour Record
After narrowly missing out on breaking the UCI “Unified” Hour Record in 2017, Vittoria Bussi set a new mark for the most prestigious record in cycling in Aguascalientes, Mexico on Thursday. What was even more remarkable, was that the Italian privateer had called short a record ride at the 44 minute point the day before – a feat reminiscent of another Endura athlete, Graeme Obree.
Vittoria bettered Evelyn Steven’s previous record of 47.980 metres by 27 metres, covering 48.007 km around the Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome wearing the latest version of Endura’s record breaking D2Z Encapsulator Suit and new D2Z Aeroswitch helmet. Developed in conjunction with Simon Smart of Drag2Zero, the Encapsulator Suit already has two UCI Hour Records to its name, after Bridie O’Donnell (January 2016) and Alex Dowsett (May 2015) used the bleeding edge tech to great effect during their record attempts.
Movistar Team emerged from their home tour with two stage wins and points jersey for Alejandro Valverde as well as the team classification as impressive consolation from a race where they’d battled right into the final stage in search of a podium place.
In the end, Valverde saw his podium challenge fall just short on the final, brutal stage in Andorra, losing time, despite the valiant efforts of his team-mates, to drop down into fifth place overall after sitting on a provisional podium place for 14 out of the race’s 21 stages. Nairo Quintana too lost further time on Saturday, finishing up in 8th place.
Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta
Movistar Team Women bought the curtain down on their maiden season on home soil at the two day Madrid Challenge, the final European round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. The squad finished Saturday’s team time trial in 7th spot, 1:14 back from Team Sunweb in what is a still early days for a technical discipline which rarely appears in their race programme.
Polish road and time trial champion Malgorzata Jasinska closed out what has been a great season with the squad’s most experienced rider. Malgorzata made it into the large break that formed at around the halfway mark of the 100 km circuit race around the Spanish capital. Jasinksa attacked late in the race but was soon reeled in with the lead group keen to finish things off with a sprint. Malgorzata crossed the line in 8th spot for a top-20 GC result.
Red Bull Hardline
There’s hard and there’s Hardline. The downhill with a difference is raced over a super gnarly course, handcrafted Dan Atherton, with huge features strewn across a steep hillside in Wales. Rainy conditions made the track even harder than usual, with a hand picked collection of the world’s best riders tackling the massive drops, gaps and amped up trails.
New Junior World Champion Kade Edwards made his debut in the event, qualifying in 10th spot. Charlie Hatton, who had a frustrating World Cup season, also performed strongly in qualification, pulling out a 6th place run. Gee Atherton, racing with fire in his belly after his controversial non-selection for the Worlds, qualified in first place for finals with a storming run.
Kade’s finals run was ruined by a snapped chain, so it was on to Charlie and Gee to earn a result for Trek Factory DH on home trals. Charlie had a superb finals run, taking the lead which was only bettered by 2016 winner Bernard Kerr.
The roar of the fans could be heard echoing around the valley as Gee Atherton took to the track last and those shouts only got louder as he set the best times through each split to take his first every Red Bull Hardline win.
Photos: Eilidh McKibben, Marcus Enno and Sean Hardy