Ellen van Dijk is overjoyed that she has managed to break the world hour record. The 35-year-old time trial world champion improved the record of British Joscelin Lowden (48.405) at the cycling track in Grenchen on Monday and set the new distance to beat at 49.254 kilometers.
“At the end it all got a bit blurry and I couldn’t go straight anymore. I was also happy to hear it was over,” the Trek-Segafredo cyclist said afterwards.
“I started and then I only saw a black line somewhere around 190 laps. I was a little nervous at the beginning, but it quickly got under control. After half an hour with my laps of 18.1 I knew I was record if I didn’t slow down much. If I felt good I would have wanted to speed up after 45 minutes but instead I slowed down. That meant today was in it. I’m very happy that I have the record.”
The 35-year-old Van Dijk drove a solid race from start to finish. In her first rounds she already dived under the schedule of Lowden, who had held the record since September last year. The Trek-Segafredo rider eventually rode almost 1 kilometer more than Lowden in an hour, although she had secretly hoped for something more.
“I started with the idea of achieving the highest possible level. I wanted to have the record, but also get the most out of it. That’s what it’s about for me, getting the most out of yourself in one hour. Maybe that’s why I’m on the end had to pay something back.”
‘Time seemed to last longer’
Although Van Dijk knew that she started with a brisk pace, she hoped to be able to accelerate somewhere. According to her, it was “mentally a little bit” that she instead slowed down. “After that, the time seemed to last longer too. I went from five minutes to five minutes, but in the last fifteen minutes it was five minutes longer each time. In the end it was ramming, ramming and ramming until I heard that bell.”
The time trial specialist had already announced in the run-up to her attempt that it had always been a dream of hers to attack the world hour record once. “I’ve been thinking since Leontien van Moorsel took the record and that was in 2003. Then I already thought: how cool it would be, really the coolest thing in cycling. It’s a bit of a crazy feeling that it’s over now.”
Van Dijk said that she is satisfied with her record. But she did not rule out a new attempt completely, although she will want to perform it at height. “I really enjoyed the process and it was a great experience.”