UCI rule change prompts Fabian Cancellara and Trek to suspend their plans to take on the Hour Record

Fabian Cancellara has announced that he has put his plans to attempt the Hour Record on ice for an ‘undetermined amount of time’ in response to the Union Cycliste Internationale’s confirmation of its rule change for the record.

In a statement from his Trek Factory Racing team, former time trial World Champion and multiple classics and Grand Tour stage winner Cancellara said: “The whole appeal of the hour record for me is that you are competing against riders from the past. I would have loved to race Eddy (Merckx) in the Classics, or in a time trial, but it’s not possible.”

“The hour record has this charming side to it that I like a lot. Now it’s going to be different. I’m not against technological innovation, everyone knows that. It’s why I spend so much time testing road bikes with Trek. And it’s also why we’ve invested time and money in developing the best Merckx-style bike.”

The rule change, announced last week, means that any track pursuit bike that adheres to the UCI’s technical rules for that discipline can now be used for an attempt on the Hour. Riders no longer have to use a bike that resembles that used by Merckx to set his 1972 mark – the so-called ‘athlete’s hour’.

Trek Factory Racing team general manager Luca Guercilena said: “At this point we need to assess the situation. We’ve invested many resources, both human and financial, to prepare for an attempt and we need to evaluate in which way, if any, we proceed. We are satisfied that the UCI has now stipulated clear regulations about the Hour Record, as there was already some speculation about it, but we need to examine what it means for our project, which so far has been focused on breaking the Merckx record.”

Trek Bicycle itself has never shied away from technological innovation, particularly in the realm of aerodynamics. Both the company and team said they were supportive of the UCI’s modernisation of equipment regulations and underlined that it was technical innovation that was the brand’s “motivation to own a WorldTour team”.

Despite the Hour Record rule change, the current record of 49.7km set by the Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka is still the mark to beat. Former record holder Graeme Obree called the distance ‘low hanging fruit’ for someone having a go at the record on a modern pursuit bike. At the weekend, Bradley Wiggins said that he was ‘interested’ in the possibility of having a go at the record.