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“The Roger Bannister of cycling” – Ashton Lambie breaks four-minute barrier on the track (+ video)

American rider sets new world record for 4km from standing start at Aguascalientes Velodrome in Mexico

Ashton Lambie has broken the four-minute barrier for riding 4km from a standing start, riding 16 laps of the Aguascalientes Velodrome in Mexico in a time of 3 minutes 59.930 seconds.

The American gravel rider turned track cyclist is supported by the UK's Huub Design and Watt Shop, and a teammate of Dan Bigham on the Huub Wattbike track squad (check out our interview with Dan on the latest episode of the podcast). Ahead of the record-breaking ride, Lambie said that he had been inspired by Sir Roger Bannister’s first sub-four minute mile, achieved in Oxford in 1954.

His effort yesterday beat the time of 4 minutes 1.934 seconds set by Filippo Ganna in Berlin in February 2020 – when the Italian went 1.706 seconds faster than Lambie in qualifying when setting that world record, before getting the better of the American in the final.

Ganna himself is aiming to go less than four minutes in the individual pursuit at October’s track worlds which take place at sea level, rather than altitude, where Lambie set his latest record.

In August 2018, Lambie smashed the previous record, held by Jack Bobridge of Australia, whose time of 4 minutes 10.534 seconds, set in Sydney in 2011, had been the fastest since Great Britain’s Chris Boardman rode 4km in 4 minutes 11.114 seconds in Manchester 15 years earlier.

Lambie set a time of 4 minutes 7.251 seconds on that occasion in Aguascalientes, and twice took his record lower in September 2019 at Cochabamba, Bolivia, bringing the record down to 4 minutes 5.423 seconds.

Ganna broke that record in Minsk, Belarus, on 3 November 2019, setting a time of 4 minutes 4.252 seconds, and the same day went faster still at 4 minutes 2.647 seconds.

Two points are worth noting. First, each of Lambie’s record breaking rides mentioned above took place at altitude – the track in Aguascalientes is at an elevation of 1,887 metres, and the one in Cochabamba at 2,571 metres. Boardman, Bobridge and Ganna, by contrast, all set their records at sea level.

Secondly, other than Lambie’s record-breaking ride yesterday, all the others happened in competition – Boardman’s at the world championships, Bobridge’s at the Australian nationals, Lambie’s at two separate editions of the Pan American championships, and Ganna at the track cycling world cup in Minsk and world championships in Berlin.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport last week, Italy’s national track cycling coach Marco Villa said that Ganna – who helped power the country to team pursuit gold in Tokyo – aims to break the four-minute mark for the individual pursuit at the world championships in late October, now confirmed as taking place in Roubaix, France.

“Filippo has always shown the intention of trying it at sea level because he doesn’t want the advantage of altitude, as if it were then a record with an asterisk,” Villa said.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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joe9090 | 2 years ago

Was gonna make some spurious hirsute related comment but I Must Dash....

brooksby | 2 years ago

I so wanted him to have done that on an Ordinary  3

TheBillder replied to brooksby | 2 years ago

Perfect for the track. No pedal clearance issues, no freewheel, just take the brakes off.

If only we knew of someone who rides one and could take a video, and wasn't as shy as the Sussexes. I suppose he's busy with TV and radio.

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