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Cycling's World Hour Record

Bradley Wiggins world hour record ride can be watched here

Bicycle History

Note: Early in 2014 the UCI modified the rules for bikes used in World Hour Record attempts. Now a rider can use a bike that currently conforms to the rules for track pursuit bikes. That means aero bars and disc wheels, among other things.

The World Hour Record is the greatest distance traveled on a bike in one hour. For most of its history World Hour Record attempts were done on a normal track bike on a velodrome. The first instance of a record done at altitude was when William Hamilton rode 40,781 meters at a Denver velodrome.

In 1968 Ole Ritter traveled to the Mexico City velodrome and added over a half-kilometer to Ferdi Bracke's record. Eddy Merckx also took advantage of the thin air in Mexico City to establish a record in 1972.

From then on the record was extended mainly through the use of improved aerodynamics, in both equipment and rider postion.

Concerned that the record was losing relevance and that the athlete's performance was being lost in the technological innovation, in September 2000, the UCI established 2 Hour Records:

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Hour Record. Done on a normal track bike with a normal riding postion. At the time of the change Eddy Merckx's 1972 record was re-established as the valid World Hour Record. Since then the record has been extended. There are several numbers given for Coppi's record, I've posted the official UCI distance.

Best Human Effort. For those records using upright bikes without fairings but with other aero equiment such as disc wheels, aero bars and with special aerodynamic rider postions being allowed.

This was a rational way for the UCI to handle the diverging goals of the record setters. It has been calculated ( that Eddy Merckx required a sustained effort of 485 watts while Francesco Moser's effort on a modern time-trial bike with disc wheels that took him over a kilometer further needed only(!) 446 watts.

It is also interesting to note that the cadence of successful record holder has hovered near 100 rpm for the last centrury.

The 1893 record setter, Henri Desgrange, later became the founder and organizer of the Tour de France.

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World Hour Record


Name and Nationality


Distance (meters)



May 11, 1893 Desgrange, Henri (France) Paris 35,325    
Oct 31, 1894 Dubois, Jules (France) Paris 38,220 2,895  
July 30, 1897 van Den Eynde, Oscar (Belgium) Paris 39,240 1,020  
July 3, 1898 Hamilton, William (U.S.A.) Denver 40,781 1,541  
Aug 8, 1905 Petit-Breton, Lucien (France) Paris 41,110 329  
June 20, 1907 Berthet, Marcel (France) Paris 41,520 410 The story
Aug 22, 1912 Egg, Oscar (Switzerland) Paris 42,122 602  
Aug 7, 1913 Berthet, Marcel (France) Paris 42,741 619  
Aug 21, 1913 Egg, Oscar (Switzerland) Paris 43,525 784  
Sept 20, 1913 Berthet, Marcel (France) Paris 43,775 250  
Aug 18, 1914 Egg, Oscar (Switzerland) Paris 44,247 472  
Aug 8, 1933 Van Hout, Jan (Netherlands) Roermond 44,588 388 Record not certified by UCI
Sept 28, 1933 Richard, Maurice (France) Saint Trond 44,777 189  
Oct 31, 1935 Olmo, Giuseppe (Italy) Milan 45,090 313 Photo of Olmo
Oct 14, 1936 Richard, Maurice (France)  Milan 45,325 235  
Sept 29, 1937 Slaats, Frans (Netherlands) Milan 45,485 160  
Nov 3, 1937 Archambaud, Maurice (France) Milan 45,767 282  
Nov 7, 1942 Coppi, Fausto (Italy) Milan 45,848 31  
June 6, 1956 Anquetil, Jacques (France) Milan 46,159 369  
Sept 19, 1956 Baldini, Ercole (Italy) Milan 46,394 235  
Sept 18, 1957 Riviere, Roger (France) Milan 46,923 529  
Oct 30, 1967 Bracke, Ferdinand (Belgium) Rome 48,093 746  
Oct 10, 1968 Ritter, Ole (Denmark) Mexico City 48,653 560  
Oct 25, 1972 Merckx, Eddy (Belgium) Mexico City 49,432 779 The story 
Oct 27 2000 Chris Boardman (UK) Manchester 49,441 9  
July 19, 2005 Ondrej Sosenka (CZE) Moscow 49,700 259  
Sep 18,
Jens Voigt
51,115 1,415  
Oct 30, 2014 Matthias Brändle (Austria) Aigle, Switzerland 51,852 742  
Feb 8, 2015 Rohan Dennis Grenchen,
52,491 639  
May 2,
Alex Dowsett
Manchester, U.K. 52,937 446  
June 7, 2015 Bradley Wiggins
54,526 1,589 See the video of his ride
April 16, 2019 Victor Campenaerts
55,089 563 meter increase  
Aug 19,
Dan Bigham
55,546 457  
Oct 8
Filippo Ganna
56,792 1,244  

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Best Human Effort (1984 - 2014)

Jan 19, 1984 Moser, Francesco (Italy) Mexico City 50,808 Increase over
Eddy Merckx's 1972 record:
Jan 23, 1984 Moser, Francesco (Italy) Mexico City 51,151 Further increase:
Jul 7, 1993 Obree, Graeme (Britain) Hamar 51,596 445  
Jul 23, 1993 Boardman, Chris) (Britain) Bordeaux 52,270 674  
April 4, 1994 Obree, Graeme (Britain) Bordeaux 52,713 433  
Sept 2, 1994 Indurain, Miguel (Spain) Bordeaux 53,040 327  
Oct 22, 1994 Rominger, Tony (Switzerland) Bordeaux 53,832 792  
Nov 5, 1994 Rominger, Tony (Switzerland) Bordeaux 55,291  1,459  
Sept 9, 1996 Boardman, Chris (Britain) Manchester 56,375 1,084