On 25th of October 1972 the great Eddy Merckx beat the Ole Ritter’s hour record. On the track of Mexico City, at 2,300 meters of altitude above sea level, the Belgian champion has reached 49.409, 68 km.
The previous record set by the Danish champion is beaten by 755 meters. The performance is amazing because we must return to the beginning of the century to find a runner capable of improving the previous limit with a higher margin. Alongside Merckx was Ernesto Colnago who has built for him a futuristic bike for that time.
The bike, weighing just 5 kilos and 650 grams, took about 200 hours of work and could boast some unique details such as the lightweight steel frame, the chain with all perforated mesh to gain about 100 grams. The titanium stem welded in the United States in Detroit. The tubulars of just 80 grams. What remains of that record? The incredible strength of Merckx and the willingness of Ernesto Colnago that has always improved the bike, while retaining the classic features and has never invented for the sake of inventing. But that was 46 years ago!
In the picture, taken at the Vigorelli Velodrome in Milan in October 1972 (before leaving for Mexico City), note Ernesto Colnago holding the record bike (a mechanical in suits!), at his side Eddy Merckx and Ole Ritter, with black leather jacket.