Italian cyclist Vittoria Bussi shatters the 50-kilometer barrier with a new women's hour record
In the midst of October, the legendary Velodromo Bicentenario in Aguascalientes, Mexico, witnessed days of suspense. The reason behind this excitement was the Italian female cyclist, Vittoria Bussi, who had set her sights on breaking the hour record to regain the title she held from 2018 to 2021.
Located at an altitude of 1,900 meters in the thin mountain air of Mexico, the Velodromo Bicentenario provides an ideal setting for record attempts, albeit with unpredictable weather conditions. The project faced a brief delay just before the start due to a sudden drop in temperature, which could have hampered the chances of achieving a favorable outcome.
Vittoria Bussi's previous record was 48.007 meters, which stood for three years before Joscelin Lowdin covered 48.405 meters in September 2021. However, the current record of 49.254 meters, set in May 2022 by Dutch phenomenon Ellen van Dijk, was the target of this audacious attempt.
When the conditions became optimal once again after a few days, Bussi seized the opportunity. Not only did she reclaim her title, but she also broke the magical 50-kilometer barrier by covering 50.267 meters in one hour.
Vittoria Bussi was relatively unknown in women's cycling. The former triathlete and amateur cyclist had primarily immersed herself in the world of mathematics, earning a Ph.D. from Oxford University. It was at the age of 26 that she decided to dedicate herself to professional cycling. Individual time trials became her favorite discipline, and she earned three silver medals at the Italian championships, a tenth-place finish at the 2020 World Championships, and, most notably, a fifth-place finish at the 2020 European Championships in the individual time trial, where she also contributed to the Italian mixed relay team's bronze medals.
Today, Vittoria Bussi is 36 years old, and her professional cycling career is behind her. However, the dream of reclaiming the hour record has always remained in the back of her mind. She initiated the "Road2record" project, which made the record attempt possible through a combination of crowdfunding and a series of active sponsorships, all aimed at mutual development in a win-win collaboration with the Italian athlete.
"I went through a lot of emotions when my record was first broken. But thanks to my 'Road2record' project, I now feel ready to try and set a new world marker and get closer to the 50 kilometers per hour mark," she expressed to the online platform, Feltet, before the attempt.
As part of the team supporting Vittoria Bussi, Fusion's development team was responsible for testing and custom-making an individual time trial suit for her. Over several months, Fusion HQ's test lab and sewing room worked with materials and their composition in collaboration with Vittoria Bussi before creating the final suit in northern Denmark.
"Vittoria's suit is not a product we typically sell. However, our ongoing collaborations with top athletes, including Sam Laidlow and Magnus Ditlev, who placed first and third in the 2023 Ironman World Championship, and Danish time trial rider Frederik Muff's conquest of the 10 and 30 km records, are essential for building the experience and know-how we constantly strive to develop. We can only achieve that by delving into the specific disciplines of sports, where we discover the subtle nuances and gains that push us further in the pursuit of the world's fastest sportswear," explained Mads Nissen, co-founder and developer at Fusion.
Following the successful record attempt, Vittoria Bussi stated, "The choice of a skinsuit is crucial in time records. At the start of the project, I didn't feel entirely prepared, so my philosophy was to find partners who, alongside me, would prioritize boundary-breaking, innovative development towards the record attempt. It's really difficult to find a top brand that doesn't solely focus on bringing a product to market as quickly as possible."
"Fusion, on the other hand, was process-oriented. In Fusion's TestLab and in wind tunnel and velodrome, we quickly obtained the aerodynamic feedback and data that helped us discover all the small marginal gains that, when combined, resulted in an extremely high-performing suit. And we could have continued to find improvements."
"In this constructive collaboration, I was constantly heard and taken seriously. And my skinsuit, which broke the record, was the product of close teamwork with Fusion, united by an innovative and limitless vision," Bussi concluded.
"I'm excited to have broken the record for the second time in my career on the same velodrome where I set my first record. I dedicate this victory to all my supporters over the years who believed in the project. The record is the result of excellent teamwork," Bussi told UCI.