OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Brilliant Boardman: Cycling: Robin Nicholl reports from Barcelona

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The Independent Online
CHRIS Boardman produced an unofficial world cycling record at the Vall d'Hebron velodrome yesterday, but the British team were disappointed.

Boardman's 4min 27.357sec ride in the opening round of the 4,000 metres individual pursuit was a second faster than the previous best on an outdoor track over the distance and he was nearly three seconds faster than Germany's world champion, Jens Lehmann. However, because the Wirral racer was competing on the wooden track against another rider, France's Philippe Ermenault, it could not count as an official record. To achieve that, a rider must race alone as another competitor is considered as a pacing target.

That was not the reason, however, for the British chagrin. 'We were disappointed because Chris slipped dramatically from the set schedule for his ride,' Doug Dailey, the team manager, said. 'It should have been much faster. We know that he can go faster because he has done so in training. Still, we have never been the fastest before at an Olympics. Chris is in the form of his life, at the occasion in sport and on a bike commensurate with that event.

'We have changed position on the bike so that he is lying much flatter and that will make a lot realise that the aerodynamics of the rider are vital.'

His bike also put Britain ahead in the technology race. In the age of 'funny' bikes, this one has a one- piece frame (monocoque), only one fork blade and stub axles. 'With the expertise of Lotus Cars engineers, the drag co-efficient has been cut to nothing,' Dailey said. 'But they do not award medals to bikes. It is the man who has done the job. Stub axles are nothing new. They have been used for years in racing wheelchairs.'

Boardman today faces Jan Bo Petersen, the Danish rider who won the world pursuit bronze at Stuttgart's indoor track last year when Lehmann won his title and, in the process, set a world indoor best of 4:22.52.