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Stevens sets new hour record mark, misses Longo’s all-time record

COLORADO SPRINGS (VN) — Evelyn Stevens rode 47.980km in a near perfect hour under the dome in Colorado Springs to topple Bridie O’Donnell’s current women’s world hour record by over a kilometer.

The two-time U.S. national time trial champion missed the all-time mark set by Jeannie Longo in 1996, who used “superman” position, by less than 200 meters, but now holds the official UCI hour record.

“It’s a huge honor to have this record, I thank Molly [Shaffer Van Houweling] and Bridie [O’Donnell] for doing it first,” Stevens said. “It takes a lot of guts to get out there, as I realized when you get closer.”

Stevens sat just under 25 seconds per lap of the 333-meter velodrome for the duration. A grimace crept onto her face in the final 15, as she tried to raise the pace past Longo’s mark. The capacity crowd began to pound on the infield boards as her shoulder’s rolled forward and a slight weave began to creep into her line through the corners. She raised the pace past Longo briefly, but fell back in the final minutes.

“For the first 45 minutes in I was just in the zone, saying ‘pedal, push, pedal, push,’ not thinking. With 15 minutes to go the plan was to try to squeeze, which I was able to do for a couple laps,” she said. “You don’t know your limit until you hit your limit. I think I found it today.

Stevens pacing was close to perfect, according to her coach, Neal Henderson.

“She was on the upper limit of what we knew she could do early on, not over paced,” Henderson said. “It was right that range of what knew she could do. She kept that until 45 [minutes], I asked her for a bit more. She did lift, and had a little difficulty. She was riding some very fast laps toward the end there.

“She started with a full cup of energy, and she was pouring the last drops out in the last laps.”

“I didn’t feel any acute pain, I felt just an overall fatigue, just trying to squeeze everything I physically had,” Stevens said. “I think a lot of the hour is staying present. That’s the hardest part for the first 45 minutes. Then the last 15 minutes was just trying to stay calm and push with everything I had.”