Filippo Ganna cannot stop being a headline act. A week ago he smashed the hour record and on Friday evening in France he scored himself another rainbow jersey with a remarkable world-record ride in the individual pursuit.
– By Rob Arnold
He could have been be forgiven if he didn’t ride his bike for quite some time after having covered 56.792km in an hour last week but Filippo Ganna is no ordinary human being. He’s a freak who was born to push the limits of what’s possible for a cyclist.
The hour record is phenomenal on so many levels and as difficult as it was to beat Dan Bigham’s standard, it seemed inevitable that Ganna would do just that. The Italian is a TT maestro like none before him. And on Friday 14 October 2022 he would again showcase his talents on a velodrome.
On day three of competition at the 2022 UCI Track World Championships both Ganna and Bigham would ride off for medals: the Brit against Portugal’s Ivo Manuel Alves raced for bronze while The Italian TT Master was up against his compatriot Jonathan Milan in the quest for gold.
Enough was done in qualifying to put the crowd at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome on the edge of their seats. Ganna ripped in a first lap of 22.031 seconds in qualifying. He backed that up with 15.524 seconds for the next lap. And then 14 more laps followed, each raced at sub-15 second pace!
His fastest lap in qualifying was the last of the 16 for the 4,000m pursuit, 14.111! Amazing but more was yet to come.
For results from the world championships, visit Tissot Timing.
In the final, against his Olympic gold medal winning team-mate from last year, Ganna blew the roof off the stadium by evoking a chorus of cheers thanks to a time that seemed implausible only a few years ago.
Credit goes to Ashton Lambie from the USA as he was the man who pushed the individual pursuit back into the headlines when he rode the 4,000m race at a World Cup at Aguascalientes, Mexico in 2018 and broke Jack Bobridge’s world record with a 4:07.251.
It seemed ridiculous that the individual pursuit could be raced at such a pace and yet now, there are two men who have finished the same event in under four minutes: Lambie and Ganna.
The final of the IP in Paris was something of a showdown but there was little doubt about the winner, even given Milan’s class (as he did, after all, qualify with a time of 4:03.012). Still, Ganna’s reputation grows with every TT he does and the whiff of a record pushed him even faster with his second ride at the 2022 worlds.
Again, a fast start (22.188 sec for the opening lap) then two laps at just over 15 seconds (15.443 and 15.042) but then it got faster and faster until the very end when Ganna’s 16th lap was covered in 14.108 seconds.
It all adds up to a total for the four kilometres of 3:59.636. And that translates to yet another world record for The Maestro.
Again Lambie’s name earns a mention. He was the first to take the IP under four minutes when he returned to Aguascalientes in August last year for a concerted push to achieve what was then thought to be unachievable, a sub-four minute individual pursuit. He did it, not in a competition but as part of a personal quest he set himself, and 3:59.930 proved that it was possible. Gobsmackingly difficult, but possible.
And now, well Ganna just eclipsed the American one more time… and for Lambie, that’s just fine. He opted to sit these championships out. Ashton likes to do things differently. He likes to ride his bike and he likes to go fast, but he wasn’t racing the worlds in 2022. He’s working on another project… #StayTuned.
??? @GannaFilippo ???
— UCI Track Cycling (@UCI_Track) October 14, 2022
Meanwhile, the record is broken and it would seem obvious to state that it won’t be broken again for a long time yet… but the thing is, Ganna is still racing and he doesn’t seem to know his limits. It is fast. It is faster than we could have ever imagined an IP being raced, but who knows what Filippo will be doing in a week.
He might just be tempted to go for another ride…
– By Rob Arnold