LONDON (Reuters) - Briton Bradley Wiggins added the UCI world hour record to his extensive cycling career honors tally on Sunday when he covered 54.526km in the London Olympic velodrome to smash the mark set by fellow Briton Alex Dowsett last month.
Wiggins -- who undertook six weeks of intensive training ahead of the blue riband event for the furthest distance traveled in one hour -- rode into history in front of six thousand noisy fans, destroying the 52.937 set by Dowsett in Manchester.
“I‘m just glad it’s done now, that’s the closest I will come to ever knowing what it’s like to have a baby,” the 35-year-old told Sky TV.
“It was just torturous; you are constantly looking at the clock, counting down the minutes. So I‘m really relieved that it’s done now.”
The 2012 Tour de France winner, four-time Olympic gold medalist and multiple world champion on road and track, covered 219 laps in 60 agonizing minutes, maintaining his record-setting pace despite concerns about the slight slowing effect of high air pressure in London.
Wiggins is the fifth person since September to break the record -- held in the past by Eddy Merckx and Chris Boardman -- after the UCI changed the rules to allow riders to use whatever equipment is ruled legal for track timed events.
He looked on total control from the start and delivered a highly assured performance, though finished just shy of the 55km target he had spoken of.
However, Wiggins said there were no regrets about failing to reach that milestone, saying: “Just to get up there and put yourself on the line takes a lot of courage. It’s a mental game more than physical, it’s tough.”
Asked where the new record ranks in his stellar career he said: “It just tops it off...it’s memorable, it really is. More than any other ride I have done it was a bit emotional really.”
Editing by Mitch Phillips