Australia’s Bridie O’Donnell has broken the women’s cycling hour record after achieving a distance of 46.882 kilometres during her attempt at the Adelaide Super-Drome.
The time trial specialist, who won the Oceania Cycling Championship road race in 2009, was aiming to surpass the existing mark of 46.273km, which was established by American rider Molly Shaffer Van Houweling in September.
Van Houweling's effort, held at altitude, had seen her honoured at the inaugural International Cycling Union (UCI) Cycling Gala, where the governing body’s President Brian Cookson had expressed his hope more women would take on the record.
O’Donnell, who has competed at three UCI Road World Championships and made 12 podium appearances at the Australian and Oceania Championships, proved able to surpass the distance.
“All this wouldn’t have been possible without the crowd and the team that supported me throughout the project,” the 41-year-old said.
“I can’t believe I broke a world record, I tried not to think about my feelings.
“Yesterday I felt very nervous, today people reassured me, telling me that it was all about the pacing.
“I tried to focus on that and not to be distracted by anything else.”
O’Donnell was the third woman after Britain’s Sarah Storey and Shaffer to attempt the hour record, following the governing body’s ruling that the record could be broken on an aerodynamic bike in May 2014.
Eight cyclists have taken on the men’s hour record, with Britain’s Bradley Wiggins pushing the record to 54.526 km in London, last June.
The first attempt at the hour record in 2016 came at the conclusion of the Santos Tour Down Under, the first men’s UCI WorldTour road race of the season.
The build-up to O’Donnell’s effort, saw members of Australia’s track sprint team compete in a series of races, such as Anna Meares, while UCI President Brian Cookson was in among those in attendance to watch.
“This is a very special occasion with Bridie setting a new record here in front of cycling fans, alongside some of Australia’s finest track sprinters in the lead up to Rio 2016,” said Cookson.
“Coinciding with the kick-off of the WorldTour season, this performance rounds off a wonderful week for our sport”
“With the likes of Rohan Dennis and Jack Bobridge on the men’s side, and now Bridie, Australia is putting itself at the forefront when it comes to taking on the UCI Hour Record.
“I hope that other women riders will come forward to go against what is in many senses the purest record of all.”