Thursday 30 September 2021

Photo of the day - 30: Joss Lowden, new hour record holder

Photo: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Congratulations to Drops-Le Col rider, Joss Lowden who broke the women's hour record at the Velodrome Suisse, in Grenchen, Switzerland. The distance she covered in one hour, 48.405km, beat Vittoria Bussi's hitherto record of 48.007km achieved in 2017.  

The 33-year old from Lewes, East Sussex had had her eye on the record for many months since she unofficially broke it last year while training at the Derby Velodrome, so she knew she would be capable of doing it again. However, doubts always set in during the preparation. Lowden, who is a road racer and one of the team captains at Drops-Le Col/supported by Tempur team, has been having a good season having won the Tour Feminin in Czechia and placing 5th at Brabantse Pijl. A week before her world record attempt, as part of her preparation she competed in the mixed relay time trial, the time trial and the road race at the World Road Cycling Championships in Flanders, Belgium. 

What is impressive about this record is that it beat other records that were achieved at high altitude. Apart from Bridie O'Donnell who cycled at 46.882/hour in 2016 in Adelaide, all the other hour records were broken at around 2,000 metres altitude - either in Mexico or in Colorado, USA. Joss Lowden's record was not completely at sea level as the Velodrome Suisse is at 450m altitude, but it is far from high altitude. This record also beat the ultimate speed of 48.149/hour, set by Jeannie Longo in 1996 but was not recognised by the cycling governing body (Union Cycliste Internationale) due to her having adopted the banned "Superman" position.

Given that Joss was constantly ahead of schedule throughout her ride, it seems that she would probably be strong enough to break her own record in the future. So who knows, we may see her again in the Velodrome Suisse.

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