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Cancellara scheduled for hour record, possibly in Mexico

MILAN (VN) — Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) may have already circled the date on his calendar for the hour record: August 3 in Aguascalientes, Mexico. One week after the Tour de France at Mexico’s magical track, according to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, he will try to top 49.700 kilometers.

The Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome in central Mexico hosted a UCI Track World Cup round in December and saw eight records broken. France’s François Pervis set the flying 200-meter time trial record, at 9.347 seconds, and the 1km time trial record, at 56.303.

Trek Factory Racing general manager Luca Guercilena told VeloNews in November that they considered Manchester, England, and Anadia, Portugal. Both of those tracks are near sea level, however. The Aguascalientes track sits at 6,190 feet elevation and the thin air allows for faster speeds.

If true, Cancellara would use the 250-meter indoor track to make his mark. He aims to ride more than 49.7km distance set by Czech Ondrej Sosenka on July 19, 2005.

Guercilena was not available for comment Tuesday. The team sent a press release in the afternoon saying that Cancellara would attempt the hour later in the year, not after the classics, and that the venue was undecided.

“The focus for Fabian is now fully on the classics and an attempt to repeat the success of last year,” Guercilena said in the press release today. “After Paris-Roubaix, we’ll turn our attention to the hour record and we will have more details.”

The 32-year-old Swiss has won four world time trial titles, an Olympic gold, and classics from Milano-Sanremo to Paris-Roubaix. However, like other modern stars, he has yet to tackle cycling’s blue ribbon event: riding as far as possible on a standard fixed-gear bike for one hour. In doing so, and succeeding, Cancellara would write his name in the record books with Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil and Fausto Coppi.

“It’d be good to get stars going for the record again, above all for someone like Cancellara, who’s gone well against the clock for the last 10 years,” Guercilena told VeloNews. “It’s only right to put it on the program.”

World time trial championTony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) have said that they would like to try, as well. Cancellara’s success could spur them toward the hour record.

The hour record has taken a backseat since 2000, when the UCI introduced new rules and rolled the record back to Merckx’s 1972 distance of 49.431. Its new rules stated that the cyclist must attempt the hour on a traditional bike. Since then, only Chris Boardman – 49.441km on October 27, 2000, in Manchester — and Sosenka in Moscow have beaten Merckx’s mark.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported today that Cancellara would train on the track from April to June and build up from July 22 onwards. If he races the Tour de France, he may decide to leave early to make the 12-hour trip, with its seven-hour time difference, to Mexico City. Aguascalientes sits 500km further to the north.

According to the report, a TV broadcast will allow fans worldwide to see the event on August 3. Trek has dedicated 15 people to the project, which it will use as a marketing opportunity.