The British junior cyclist set a record of 49.1 km per hour


The UCI breathed new life into the watch record in 2014 when it repealed the Merckx style rules and opened up riders the opportunity to use modern aeronautics. Since then, many riders have tried their hand at the legendary “hour” – who is successful, who is not. Rarely, however, have we heard of a junior trying to set an hourly record.

And yet, this is exactly what Welsh junior Fred Meredith is setting as his first goal of the 2022 season.

So rare is the junior hour that the UCI either does not recognize or has never ratified the junior world record for the hour. However, British Cycling agreed to recognize the UK junior record – and after driving 49,184 km, Meredith (previously) secured his place in Hour Record history. The 17-year-old believes he also unofficially broke the world record for watches among juniors – if there was one, 48,480 km of Australian Aston Freeth was the best junior attempt Mered ever knew about.

Meredith, who was already the Welsh champion in the junior time trial, boarded the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome in Newport, Wales, for an hour-long attempt. The young member of the Holohan Coaching Race Team, based in Shrewsbury, England, not only hoped to set a UK national record, but also “inspire other juniors to try it or even just ride their bikes”. Despite failing to reach his goal of 50 km, Meredith’s trip is still excellent, given the restart caused by the puncture, only two laps, and given that he only one lap is not enough to cover the distance of Eddie Merck in 49,431 km.

Speaking after the trip, Meredith said: “I am very happy to have achieved this record, and after such a fantastic build-up I could not be happier. Hopefully my efforts have inspired others to ride bikes and play sports.

“I have to say a big thank you to everyone who supported me and gave me their skills, knowledge, experience as well as their equipment,” he added.

Junior can’t enjoy the same support as Merckse and the other top riders who tried the Hour, so the “fantastic support” that Meredith mentioned looked a little different.

Mered, who was born on Christmas Day, exchanged his birthday and Christmas present for an aerometer, which was used to hone his positions at the airport for the winter. Even more interesting and perhaps more valuable than many sponsors, current British elite watch record holder Dan Bigham – who is also an aerodynamicist, advisor to Ineos Grenadiers and founder of Wattshop – lent Mered his record bike and technical support for the junior attempt. So for the past five months, Meredith has ridden on the same Bigham motorcycle that received both the British watch record and the individual pursuit record, complete with all the aerodynamic optimizations and planning that Bigham became known for.

“Very good Fred, I was pleased to support and advise his ambition to set a new junior hour record. He set a solid and ambitious plan and worked hard to put himself in the best position to achieve his goal. Congratulations! ”

Dan Bigham

As for the bike, except for a few extra struts for the handlebars, the assembly was almost identical to the one on which Bigham participated in the Hour and British Track National Championships. Most notably, Meredith drove with a huge 64 × 15 gear – just as well, on the track there are no transmission restrictions for junior gears.

The teenager competed in the Bigham’s Argon 18 Electron Pro “Derbados” set, complete with Wattshop Pentaxia Olympic bars, Anemoi extensions and Fast Forward discs. Meredith inflated Pista Speed ​​2.0 23mm tires from Vittoria to 15 bar, at least before the puncture. The ISM PN3.1 saddle, Speedplay aeropedals and ViewSpeed ​​S4 front skewer complete the assembly.

Now Meredith is turning her attention to the upcoming road season. Whether the UCI recognizes this as a junior watch record remains to be seen.

This is the same Argon18 on which Meredith rode, seen here in Grenchen, Switzerland, when Bigham broke the British watch record of Bradley Wiggins.

The British junior cyclist set a record of 49.1 km per hour

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