Thousands of fans watched online and in the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland, on Monday as broke the women’s hour record, riding 49.254 kilometers in 60 minutes. That means for 60 minutes, Van Dijk rode 190 repetitions of the track at a speed of 30.6050167 MPH.
Van Dijk is no stranger to time trialing or the track: The 35-year-old Trek-Segafredo racer has raced on the track in the past, though for the last decade has focused on road racing. She's the current World Champion in the time trial, and has earned the rainbow stripes five times in the time trial in the course of her career.
She took the record from the United Kingdom’s Joscelin Lowden, who set it at the same velodrome only a few months ago in October of 2021 with 48.405 kilometers ridden in the hour. The current men’s record was set by Victor Campenaerts in 2019 with 55.089 kilometers ridden in the hour. Van Dijk shattered Lowden’s record with 40 seconds still left on the clock, and she powered through the final seconds to break it as dominantly as possible. Her record adds 849 meters to the previous record.
So, what did she ride for the hour?
- Frame: Trek Speed Concept (Large)
- Handlebars: Bontrager Race Space (40mm)
- Wheels: Zipp Sub 9 Track (with custom clock paint scheme)
- Saddle: Bontrager Hilo XXX
- Gearing: 58:14
- Tires: Pirelli Tubular 23
The finish after Van Dijk crossed the line was arguably as hard as the last minutes of the hour itself, since she was riding fixed gear bike and needed to ride around the track a few more times just to slow back down. The force on her legs to even just stop the bike—and cool down a bit—would have been as painful as the ride itself. And since riders can’t eat or drink during the hour, it’s a safe bet to say she was desperate for a drink.
For the attempt, Trek-Segafredo partnered with Greenhope, a Swiss-based charity that organizes events for children with cancer and their families. Trek matched the total donations raised during the hour.
Former hour-record holder Jens Voigt was present and interviewed her at the finish. “I saw a black like for 190-something laps,” she explained to him. “I was under control, I did exactly what I wanted to do… Time started to tick down really slow in the second half… I’m happy I broke the record. I knew the first half hour I was well under the pace I needed to ride so I knew if I didn’t slow down too much, I could break it. Everything became a bit blurry at the end though. I was just so happy when I heard it was over.”
“Ride bikes, have fun, feel good,” she added—good advice for everyone!
Missed it? You can watch the replay here (though maybe just skip to the final laps).