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Joss Lowden breaks the women’s Hour Record in a phenomenal ride but ‘would have gone faster’

Emma Cole
30 Sep 2021

The Drops-Le Col rider smashed the record by over 300m in a perfectly executed ride

Joss Lowden broke the world Hour Record at the Velodrome Suisse in Switzerland this afternoon and became the first British rider to break the women’s record since Yvonne McGregor in 1995.

In a perfectly executed attempted, 33-year-old Lowden set a record distance of 48.405km on the track, beating previous record holder Vittoria Bussi’s record of 48.0007km.

Wearing the new Le Col × McLaren Project Aero skinsuit, the Drops-Le Col rider looked elated and relieved to break the record by over 300 metres.

‘I’m pleased with how it went,’ she said. ‘The nerves were to the extreme, I had a lot of self-doubt but actually it wasn’t that bad. I have had a really good team supporting me into this with Dan [Bigham], my parents, my coach Sean Le Col, and all my friends.’

When asked if she would do something differently, Lowden replied ‘I would have gone faster as it was a controlled effort, but I rode it in the way I wanted to ride it.’

Since 2014 there have only been six attempts for the women’s Hour Record, and part of Lowden’s reason for the attempt was to encourage more women to try it.

‘I wanted to demonstrate that the women’s side of the sport is the same as the men’s,’ she said. ‘We are also putting on the same entertaining racing.’

Lowden will celebrate her phenomenal achievement at the weekend, after partner Dan Bigham takes on his own Hour Record tomorrow as he tries to break the British record, and she will also be on the start line for the AJ Bell women’s tour next week.

The ride: 48.185kmh for... an hour

Lowden requested a quiet ride on the track with just family and friends cheering her on the track and looked very much in control throughout the attempt.

She started off at record pace and within 11km she was three seconds ahead of the previous record.

At 20km she was over eight seconds ahead and at the halfway point she was close to 11 seconds over the record and averaging 48.184kmh.

From the 25km point, and lap 100, Lowden continued to push on looking smooth and steady and at 35km she was well ahead by 21 seconds.

At 42km, lap 172, Lowden’s shoulders began to move ever so slightly, indicating that she was suffering in the final few minutes of the attempt.

With only 12 laps to go, Lowden was close to half a minute faster than Vittoria Bussi’s record and in the final closing metres gave everything she had left in the tank to set a new women’s Hour Record in what was a phenomenal ride.

The preparation

Lowden, who is a runner-turned-cyclist, went to Tokyo 2020 as a reserve and also rode at the recent World Championships but before the Hour Record Lowden had only ever ridden one track event.

She decided to go for the record after a conversation with Bigham and John Archibald, and previously beat the record unofficially in a training run set at altitude in Aguascalientes, Mexico this February.

Image credits: Matt Alexander/PA Wire