The hour record is the ultimate solo effort in cycling. There are no rivals, tactics or terrain to influence the outcome -- just 60 minutes of suffering to try to ride further than anyone has before. Boardman has done it twice, in 1993 and 1996. His 1996 ride, 56.375 kilometres, is the current world record -- and it may stand forever.
Cycling's governing body, the UCI, have ruled that the kind of hi-tech, one piece frames that Boardman and others have used to attack the hour record in recent years are no longer eligible. All competition bikes now have to feature a traditional triangular frame. The stretched-out aeirodynamic "Superman" position on the bike has been outlawed too.
Boardman, in the final year of a brilliant career that has included World Championships and an Olympic Gold medal, has responded to this by deciding to tackle the last "pure" hour record -- Eddy Merckx's of 1972.
Merckx, universally acknowledged as the greatest rider in history, was the last to set the record on a standard-frame bike: 49.431 kilometres. Now Boardman planned to do the same -- on the same kind of equipment. No triathlon bars, no aerodynamic helmet; a veritable trip back in time to race not just against the clock but against a legend who retired before Boardman bought his first bike.
This documentary follows Chris Boardman all the way from the day he made the decision, to the decisive day in October 2000 when he hopes to make history at the World Championships at Manchester Velodrome.
Boardman exhibits obsessive attention to detail and preparation that's been the foundation of all his great achievements and which mirrors that of the man he is trying to outdo. Merckx himself features - a piece of living history who has given his blessing to this attempt to re-write it. And into the narrative is woven the story of the hour record over the last century.