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Can Sanders set a new Canadian one-hour cycling record?

Insight on the challenges Canadian triathlete Lionel Sanders will face as he attempts the Canadian one hour record

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Tomorrow Canadian triathlete Lionel Sanders will attempt to break Ed Veal’s Canadian one hour distance record (48.587 km) at the Milton Velodrome. You can watch live coverage of the event on his Youtube page.

┬áSanders hardly needs any introduction to triathlon fans around the world – he’s a four-time Ironman champion and 27-time Ironman 70.3 champion. In 2017 he took the ITU Long Course World Championship and took second at the Ironman World Championship.

During the COVID-19 pandemic Sanders has taken on a number of cycling challenges including claiming the Mt. Lemmon (Arizona) KOM on Strava. (In April another triathlete, Sam Long, managed to top Sanders’s time.) Sanders was a mainstay on Zwift’s pro racing, too, taking an esports pro cycling race over cyclocross world champion Mathieu van der Poel and taking a win and a number of podiums at Z Pro Tri Series events. In December he’ll compete for Canada at the inaugural esports world championships.

Now he’s turned his sights on the track and the Canadian one-hour record. Earlier today we caught up with Steve Fleck and current record holder Ed Veal to chat about tomorrow’s attempt. You can see the video of our interview below.

Veal is especially interested to see how Sanders will make out in tomorrow’s attempt based on the equipment the triathlete is planning to use.

Sanders has said he’ll be using a 61-tooth chainring and either a 13- or 14-tooth rear cog. He’s said he’ll be aiming for aproximately 89 to 90 RPM during the ride.

Veal points out that when Bradley Wiggins set the record in 2015 – 54.526 km – he averaged 104 RPM, which was considered low compared to other record attempts in the past.

“If you look up guys like (Fabian) Cancellara or Tony Martin, there were periods in their world time trials where their cadence is 110, 115,” Veal said. “They’re generating 500 watts at that higher RPM. When we did team pursuit, which is a different discipline, we averaged between 128 and 130 for those four minutes.”

“In one of Lionel’s videos he mentioned that his upper limit was 90 – whatever wattage is being thrown out there, but let’s say its 400 watts at 90 RPM, for an hour … I just want to watch that myself,” Veal continued. “I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t generate 400 watts at anything less than 100 RPM.”

Sanders will be riding a Canyon bike with Hed disc wheels for tomorrow’s ride. You can find out more about his set up in this video he posted on Youtube last week: