photo credit @ UCI
Molly Saffer Van Houweling broke the 12-year-old women’s UCI Hour Record yesterday, after covering a distance of 46.273 km at the Velodromo Bicentenario in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Van Houweling, 41, rode 208 meters further than the previous mark of 46.065km, established in 2003 by Dutch rider Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel in Mexico City.
The California based rider already held the women’s US Hour Record (45.637km), which she set last February, also in Aguascalientes. In addition, she is a five-time UCI Amateur Road World Champion, most recently winning the road race and time trial titles at the 2014 UCI World Cycling Tour Final in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Van Houweling’s UCI Hour Record comes 60 years after the first mark (38.473km) was set by Soviet athlete Tamara Novikova in 1955. The American is the second female rider – after Briton Dame Sarah Storey – to go after cycling’s iconic record since its rules changed in May 2014.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) modernised and simplified the regulations for the record last year by authorizing the use of bikes that comply with the regulations for endurance track events.
The new rules have led to an upsurge in interest in the record by riders, with several attempts on the men’s UCI Hour Record over recent months before Van Houweling’s perfect hour today in Mexico.
After the attempt, Van Houweling said: “You never know if everything is going to come together on race day. Everyday this week I was thinking, ‘Am I going to be 100 percent? Does my knee hurt? Am I getting the sniffles? Is it too hot? Or too cold?’ I feel fortunate that everything came together today and that I felt in control. I am relieved that everything came together and thankful for everyone that helped me make this –and this live feed – happen.”
UCI President Brian Cookson commented: “Molly’s performance is splendid. It is a blessing for all those who wanted the rebirth of the UCI Hour Record. This will also remain as a milestone in American cycling history. Less than one week from the kick-off of the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, Molly’s performance shows how vibrant our sport is in this part of the world.”
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