• Bridie O'Donnell after setting the women's UCI Hour Record in January 2016 (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Australia's Bridie O'Donnell has broken the women's world hour record, riding 46.882km, eclipsing American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling's mark.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
AAP
22 Jan 2016 - 10:08 PM  UPDATED 23 Jan 2016 - 12:42 PM

Australian Bridie O'Donnell has produced a pacing masterpiece to break the women's cycling world hour record.

The 41-year-old covered 46.882km on Friday night at Adelaide's Superdrome.

That comfortably broke the mark of 46.273km, set last September by American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling.

"I can't believe I broke a world record," an emotional O'Donnell said.

She is the second Australian to eclipse the world hour mark since 2014, when world governing body the UCI standardised the rules surrounding one of cycling's most-iconic records.

Rohan Dennis also was the men's record holder last year for three months.

Anna Wilson also briefly held the women's world hour mark in 2000, riding 43.501km, but that was under the previous confusing system where there were effectively two standards for the record.

With UCI president Brian Cookson watching, O'Donnell was always on target and consistency was obviously the key.

Her pacing needed to be around 19.45 seconds per 250m lap and the 2008 Australian road time trial champion was like a metronome, always hovering around 19.1 to 19.3.

O'Donnell looked remarkably fresh after the ride, given the physical hell she put herself through.

"A lot of it is trying to not think about how you're feeling and focusing on what you're doing, that helps to distract you," she said.

"How you feel is kind of irrelevant, you just have to have confidence in the plan.

"Yesterday, I had no confidence; I was really nervous. But today I felt a lot more calm and ready."

O'Donnell's support staff helped focus her on Friday by discussing pacing, particularly the rides by Dennis and the man who took his record, British rider Alex Dowsett.

"I really feel like this is the greatest thing I've ever done, because of the commitment and backing of yourself and maintaining the confidence.

"I've had so many challenges along the way, logistical, physical, financial.

"Getting through those things really teaches you a lot about yourself."

O'Donnell's world record was a 12-month project that she developed, building a 10-person support team around her.

Along with a fierce determination, O'Donnell is articulate and well-known, at times notorious, for speaking her mind.

Soon after setting the world record, the 2008 Australian road time trial champion took aim at her cycling nemesis, national women's coach Martin Barras.

"I felt in the years I wasn't selected that I still had something exceptional to give," she said.

"There's a man up there who said I was never going to be anything useful.

"He's a bit of a jerk."

That prompted a cheer from the crowd, but O'Donnell later toned down her comments significantly.

"I didn't mean to be disrespectful to the national team coach, it's very hard to be a national team coach, you're being paid to get medals," she said.

"You have to have a short attention span about who's great.

"But what I do feel is there's this enormous depth of potential in Australian women's cycling and it doesn't always get the opportunity to be great.

"Sometimes you have to make that opportunity yourself, so I felt like I did that."

A candid O'Donnell added that the world record was a result of not having achieved other cycling goals.

"Shit, I wanted to win an Olympic time trial medal, there is absolutely no doubt about that, and I wanted to win a world championship time trial medal," she said.

"But a lot of those things, I just hadn't had enough experience.

"I had to turn that disappointment into a different focus."

O'Donnell joked she was "bummed" at not reaching 47km.

She also admitted that, technically, it was not a great ride, noting her track experience only goes back six months.

"I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I think I did a pretty shitty ride, to be honest," she said.

O'Donnell will go back to her career as a doctor on Monday and is unsure about whether she might go for the world record again.

"It's not like you can keep knocking this over every six months," she said.

The world record cost an estimated $60,000, with sponsors proving crucial.