When Bradley Wiggins set out to conquer the Hour Record at 18:27 today in the Lee Valley Velodrome in his home of London, few people expected him to fail, and that he didn't, beating Alex Dowsett's mark of 52.937 kilometres. Using a gear of 58x14, he never looked in danger of going behind his compatriot's mark. He described the ride as "tortuous."
There was worry about air pressure, and Wiggins may have been slightly disappointed with the distance, but he still did not lose time on any lap to Dowsett. Starting off, he put seven seconds in within about the first minute, and had virtually lapped Dowsett twice after ten kilometres.
With his excellent TT position, torso never moving despite not sticking as rigourously to the black line as might have been expected, Wiggins was unstoppable. He barely slowed approaching the finish, but did not reach his target of 55 kilometres.
The British rider crossed the finish line, throwing an arm up, and still had enough energy to lift the bike above his head when he got off his bike, in celebration, netting him the titles of World time trial champion, British time trial champion, and hour record holder, and the fifth Tour de France winner to take the record.
(B. Xavier Disley)
As you can see, Wiggins was quite consistent, starting quickly, but not overly so, and falling just slightly behind at the end, as might be expected. There's no alarming drop-off, and that's where the record is won and lost.
What does it mean for the record?
Well, we won't see random domestiques attempting it. Jens Voigt, Matthias Brandle, the rest of them, saw an opportunity and grabbed it, but the only person I see taking the record in the next five or ten years is Tony Martin, and he's been quiet on the subject unlike Fabian Cancellara, who's been positively deafening, and wouldn't be able to beat Wiggins' blend of track skills, time-trialling excellence and focus. Martin probably won't be able to match the track skills or the focus, considering he rides 367 days a year for Etixx, and is their favourite "bring back the break" guy. The time-trialling ability...maybe, yeah. He could beat Wiggins, I reckon. At altitude, definitely, if he was given time to train for it, but will he be?