Cycling-Britain's Lowden breaks women's Hour record

FILE PHOTO: British rider Joss Lowden trains for her world Hour record attempt at the Wales National Velodrome in Newport, Britain, September 7, 2021. Courtesy of Tom Griffiths/Handout via REUTERS

GRENCHEN, Switzerland (Reuters) -British rider Joss Lowden smashed the UCI women's Hour record as she covered 48.405km at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen on Thursday -- easily surpassing Vittoria Bussi's previous mark.

Hardly wavering from the black line on the banked 250m oval, the 33-year-old Lowden was quickly ahead of the required pace and churned out lap after lap in metronomic fashion.

Pushing a 64-tooth gear about the size of a dinner plate, the strain began to show a little as the clock ticked down but with the record in sight there was no stopping Lowden as she broke Bussi's mark with around 30 seconds still on the clock.

Lowden, a road cyclist with the Drops-Le Col team who competed in last week's road world championships, completed 193 laps to beat Bussi's 48.007km set at altitude in Mexico in 2018.

No fans were in the velodrome, although Lowden was cheered home by her parents and partner Dan Bigham, a world class cyclist and aerodynamics technician who designed several of the components on Lowden's bike.

Lowden, who was presented with the trackside bell afterwards, was calm and composed after her effort and admitted that she probably had more in the tank.

"I knew that I could ride 18.7-second laps quite comfortably and I didn't know whether to really push it or play safe and I guess in the end it was somewhere in the middle," Lowden who put almost 400m on the previous record, said.

"The nerves were to the extreme and I had lots of doubts after I came back from altitude training in September, questioning the preparation.

"I was pleased with how it went and how I pushed through with what the plan was."

Lowden, not one of the big names of women's cycling, was only the seventh woman to attempt the Hour record since 2014 and said she hoped it would inspire others to have a go.

"I think it demonstrates that the women's side of the sport is the same as the men's and that we should be up there competing and doing the same things," she said.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis)

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