Diary Victor Campenaerts part 4
Countdown till departure
Last week, it was officially announced that Belgian Lotto Soudal rider Victor Campenaerts will attempt to set a new UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot at the Velodromo Bicentenario (Aguascalientes, Mexico) on 16 or 17 April this year. For this project, Lotto Soudal is partnering with Golazo – specialist in sports marketing – who will bring their expertise and funding to help in setting the event up.
Victor Campenaerts looks back on the altitude training camp in Namibia and also looks ahead to his Hour Record attempt. Also general manager John Lelangue and sports manager Marc Sergeant discuss the planned attempt.
Victor Campenaerts: “I arrived in Belgium today (4 March) and at the moment, there isn’t much of a shock. I had a perfect training camp in Namibia. For two months, I only had to concentrate on doing my training schedule and I didn’t have to worry about anything else. If you are able to train in such a way, the return you get from the training camp is really big. Besides specific time trial sessions, I also did a lot of endurance rides. Those still are the basis. I feel that I’ve improved a lot between the start and the end of the training camp. Now I understand the choice of GC contenders to have such long altitude training camps.”
“Without competition rhythm, it is always difficult to tell how the shape is. In order to still improve that one percentage, I will be at the start of Tirreno – Adriatico next week. If I could set a good performance in the closing individual time trial, that would of course be nice. I also look forward to joining the team again and – for example during the team time trial – to contribute to a nice GC result for one of the Lotto Soudal riders.”
“Thanks to Jens Voigt, who attracted fresh interest with his attempt in 2014, I first started to think about the Hour Record. But at the time, I wasn’t the rider I am today. Last year – during the start of the Vuelta – Dion Beukeboom attacked the record and the Dutchman came pretty close. The only difference is that he – contrary to myself – is not riding at WorldTour level. During that Vuelta, Thomas De Gendt tried to raise my interest for the Hour Record. After the world championships in Innsbruck, I travelled to Grenchen to do a test on the track and that’s where things really started to become concrete. At the moment – as the attempt is coming closer - not a single day passes without thinking about the Hour Record.”
“I will travel to Mexico on the 27th of March. I will have another three weeks’ time to do some really specific training sessions in order to start the attempt in the best possible way. I’ve already got the complete planning until the attempt in my head. With a two-day timeslot, we still have the possibility to await the most optimal conditions. Personally, I would prefer to attack the Hour Record on the 16th of April, but if the air pressure would not be ideal, it will be an easy decision to wait another day. I assume – with normal air pressure conditions – that I can break the record.”
John Lelangue, general manager Lotto Soudal: “It is a unique, overarching project. It is about one rider who is supported by the complete team. We are lucky that our main partners – like the Nationale Loterij and Soudal – are fully behind this project. Also our technical partners such as Ridley, Vermarc, HJC and Gaerne are doing everything they can to make it something special. Besides, the sports department also played an important role in shaping Victor’s training and racing schedule. We are grateful to Golazo for providing us with the financial and organisational support.”
“To bring Victor in the best possible conditions at the start, takes a meticulous planning. In the first place, it needed to be decided how the training camp in Namibia would fit into his race schedule. That way, it was decided that Victor will participate in Tirreno – Adriatico, an important WorldTour event that starts with a team time trial and ends with an individual time trial. Besides, staff is also needed in Mexico to prepare the attempt in a very specific way.”
Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “It all started in 2017 when we contacted Victor. We had a really good conversation in which we promised to grant him the freedom – through altitude training camps and positioning tests – to further develop himself as a time trialist. Then, the Hour Record attempt was still out of the question but we informed him that we were open for that challenge. Since Victor has been part of Lotto Soudal, he already showed what he is capable of. He won the European time trial championship twice and also took the bronze medal during the world championships last year. That moment, the idea became more realistic. The Hour Record is something unique and would be something big for our team. Of course, we hope that he breaks the record, but beating the time of Bradley Wiggins will for sure not be easy.”
At the moment – as the attempt is coming closer - not a single day passes without thinking about the Hour Record.