Final hour of fame in sight for Boardman

Chris Boardman is once again the man of the hour. Seventeen years of sacrifice, pain, and glory will click into history at a quarter to five this afternoon as he says a gruelling goodbye to cycle racing.

Chris Boardman is once again the man of the hour. Seventeen years of sacrifice, pain, and glory will click into history at a quarter to five this afternoon as he says a gruelling goodbye to cycle racing.

He recalled "my best ever performance and the form of my life" when, four years ago on the wooden boards of Manchester velodrome, he set the world hour record at 56.375 kilometres (34.952 miles).

That day he rode a hi-tech machine which has since been outlawed as the Union Cycliste Internationale tightens up on design regulations. It has put Boardman's record in a class of its own by calling it "the best hour performance", and ruled that future attempts should be on conventional machines.

So today Boardman closes his career by going back to basics. He is establishing a world hour record on a standard machine which weighs in at the minimum limit, 6.8 kilograms. "It's a nice way to say goodbye, and I wanted to do it in Manchester," said the father of four whose other achievements include Olympic gold and bronze, earning the leader's yellow jersey in the Tour de France, and winning world titles on road and track.

His last two years have been tough, particularly as he has a bone-wasting disease which cannot be treated until he retires, because the treatment he receives would show positive in drug tests.

"My goal is to make the record difficult for the next person, but I am starting with a schedule of 49.5km, which I will use as a point of reference. I expect to do more than 49km but not go beyond 50."

Although the 28-year-old record of the Belgian legend Eddy Merckx is being used as a yardstick by many for Boardman's attempt, he cites an even older world hour record as closer to his ideals.

Merckx covered 49.431km in Mexico with the advantage of racing at altitude. In 1967, another Belgian, Ferdy Bracke, set the record at 48.093km at sea level on Rome's Olympic track.

"If I only ride 40km it is still a world record, but honour says that I cannot do that," Boardman said. "If we prove anything today it may be just how good Merckx was."

The UCI has reinstated Merkcx's figure as the world record because he was the last to use a conventional bike. Boardman agrees with its "back to basics" philosophy, and is adding some of his own. He is racing at sea level, and wants the UCI to make that a regulation, with a 600 metres altitude limit. He is also has some suggestions about drugs.

"I am trying to get strong doping regulations where urine and blood testing is done and kept cryogenically frozen so that it can be reviewed and retested in the future as the testing science advances. This record, above all others, should be beyond suspicion. You see it and you believe what you see."

Boardman has always taken a scientific approach, and having to wear a regulation helmet today he rates as equivalent to the loss of 1km over an hour.

On the track yesterday, Britain's Olympic bronze medal foursome - Paul Manning, Bryan Steel, Chris Newton, and Bradley Wiggins - reached the final of the world 4,000 metres team pursuit with a semi-final win over France. They caught their opponents with two laps to race in the 16-lap event in which teams start in opposing straights. They were due to take on the Olympic and defending world champions Germany in last night's final, assured of at least silver.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most