Last night we saw Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team rider Evelyn Stevens smash the Women’s UCI Hour Record. We were glued to the live stream at home, but Meredith Miller was on the ground watching, also spending time with Stevens in training and preparation. She and Jessi Braverman have encapsulated the atmosphere in the now historic velodrome, and shared the final hours leading up to Stevens’ ultimately successful attempt…
Fifty eight minutes into her UCI Hour Record attempt, American Evelyn Stevens had surpassed the previous record of 46.822 kilometres held by Australian Bridie O’Donnell. When her incredible hour came to a close under the dome in the 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs, Stevens had covered 47.980 kilometres. The mark is a mere 179 metres short of the all-time record set by Jeannie Longo 20 years ago using the now banned ‘Superman’ position.
“Today was the opportunity to be great,” said Stevens. “It’s not common that you get a chance to set a world record.”
Stevens, who rides for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team, set her record on a 333-metre cement track with a newly constructed dome covering the venue. The velodrome sits at 6,035 feet of elevation (1839 metres), which provides an advantage of an estimated 1-2km/hour over sea level. The 32-year-old rode a consistent hour with lap times around 24.8-seconds for nearly the entire hour.
“It couldn’t have been a more perfect day with the temperature, pressure, a lot of other things that I don’t totally understand,” she said with a laugh. “I had the best equipment out there, skinsuit, everything, so you know, I was able to hit my split times.”
Her coach Neal Henderson called the pacing “close to perfect”. Stevens is the second athlete Henderson has coached to a UCI Hour Record. He worked with Australian Rohan Dennis to set a new standard last February, which was bested by Alex Dowsett several months later in May and Bradley Wiggins one month after that.
“Stevens started with a full cup of energy, and she was pouring the last drops out in the last laps,” said Henderson. “She was on the upper limit of what we knew she could do.”