Italy’s Ganna powers to cycling world one-hour record

At the Grenchen velodrome in Switzerland on Saturday, Italian Filippo Ganna set a new track one-hour world record of 56.792km, making up for a dismal season thus far.

Olympic team pursuit champion Ganna beat the unexpected record of 55.548 kilometers set on the same track in August by Daniel Bigham of Great Britain, a performance engineer for his Ineos Grenadiers squad.

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“It’s amazing, fantastic. I achieved my goal,” said a delighted Ganna.

“I thank my staff and everyone who contributed to this record.”

Starting cautiously, the double time-trial world champion gradually increased his pedalling rate to dislodge Bigham, 31, who had attempted the world record in order to collect data for Ganna’s quest.

Ganna, 26, also erased the mark of Briton Chris Boardman, 56.375km, from 1996. That distance had been canceled by the International Cycling Union after a change in equipment regulations.

“Congratulations Filippo Ganna, haven’t watched one in a quarter of a century, glad I tuned in, a beautiful thing to witness,” Boardman, 54, wrote on Twitter.

The first Italian to set the hour record since Francesco Moser in 1984, Ganna has established himself in recent years as one of the most successful riders of his generation with world time-trial titles in 2020 and 2021, four individual pursuit gold medals at the worlds and Tokyo Olympic victory in the team pursuit.

On Saturday, Ganna got off to a pretty tranquil start, over four seconds behind Bigham’s time.

But after 20 minutes, the Italian, riding a Pinarello-designed bike with a 3D-printed frame to improve aerodynamic performance, progressively passed Bigham’s time.

The thin rider from Piedmont raised his arms in the air as he crossed the finish line in front of a jubilant throng.

“The hardest threshold came in the last five minutes. I didn’t have enough energy to do the 57 kilometers. But that’s okay,” said Ganna.

“Next time maybe I will try at another part of the season when I have fresher legs and we can go even higher, but now we will think about recovery.”

The record put a shine on a disappointing campaign so far with a seventh-place finish in the road world time-trials in Australia, losing at the Europeans, with his best time-trial a fourth place in the Tour de France.

Ganna next heads for the world track championships outside Paris between October 12-16.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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