Sir Bradley Wiggins is ready to embrace a challenge described by five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx as his toughest on the bike.
The 35-year-old Briton will tomorrow at the Lee Valley VeloPark – formerly known as the Olympic Velodrome – attempt to break the UCI Hour Record.
The current best mark for the furthest distance cycled in 60 minutes is held by Alex Dowsett, another Briton, who recorded 52.937-kilometres in Manchester in May.
The target Wiggins – the 2012 Tour de France winner, a four-time Olympic champion and the reigning world time-trial champion on the road – has set himself is 55.250km, or 221 laps of the London track.
Wiggins wishes to set a standard for his generation at his only attempt at the historic Hour, an event which in 1973 left Merckx – known as the Cannibal due to his appetite for winning – exhausted and in awe of his own record-breaking feat.
“I’m confident,” said Wiggins.
“I try not to sound too arrogant about it because I have done my homework with it and I’ve got a good pedigree of track racing, so I know what I’m capable of.
“I have also been on the track a lot in the last five weeks and know exactly what I can sustain now for one hour.
“It’s just a confidence of knowing what you can do. It’s so quantifiable.”
Wiggins feels more at home on the Siberian pine boards than he did on the roads of France, when, in 2012, he became the first Briton to win the Tour by riding in a conservative fashion and taking advantage of his supreme dominance in time-trials against the clock.
“I have always taken very calculated risks throughout my career,” he added.
“I rode three weeks of the Tour de France without getting out of the saddle and without attacking and without taking any silly risks on descents.
“It was very calculated about winning the race, where we can gain time and not doing things based on emotion.
“The hour record, for me, that’s the purest thing. We know exactly what we are going to do each lap, each minute, each kilometre, each 5km time split for one hour, and at the end of that, you will have this distance covered. I haven’t actually looked forward as much to an event as I have for this one.”