Moustache power! Lambie reflects on his new world mark and targets Tokyo 2020

The 27-year-old has gone from riding gravel to shattering the Individual Pursuit world record.

Meet Ashton Lambie. Perhaps his moustache stands out immediately.

But he's more than just a 'tache — he's a track cyclist with an unofficial world record to his name in just his second season at international level.

A former gravel rider, the American smashed the existing men's individual pursuit mark with a time of 4:07.251 at the Pan-American Track Cycling Championships in Aguascalientes.

That bettered Olympic medallist Jack Bobridge's best by over three seconds, although the record must first be ratified by the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling's governing body.

Olympic champions Chris Boardman and Andrea Collinelli have also previously held the record.

Did Lambie plan to set a new mark? Listen to what he told the Olympic Channel exclusively on his way home from Mexico.

Ashton Lambie talks to the Olympic Channel after breaking individual pursuit world record

Ashton Lambie talks to the Olympic Channel after breaking individual pursuit world record

Whirlwind rise

The new world record is the biggest feather in the 27-year-old's relatively small cap. In fact, he's only in his second year competing at international level.

Lambie grew up in the Midwestern United States, racing on gravel roads, and only made his Team USA debut in 2017. The moustachioed rider also dabbled in other disciplines before settling on the velodrome.

"I got into road racing a little bit, but kind of got out of it in college," he admits.

"There's only so many criterium races around parking lots you can do before you get tired of doing it, but there's miles and miles of gravel roads in the area."

"I've always been a little bit bigger than the guys who win the ultra-distance races, and I just thought there was something else I could do that would better fit my physique. So I fell into track."

—Ashton Lambie

Lambie is an endurance cyclist on the track, racing the 4 km individual and team pursuits. But away from the velodrome, he also has an endurance record to his name.

He's the fastest cyclist to have crossed Kansas at an ultra-marathon distance. 430 miles (nearly 700 km), to be exact.

"When I still lived in Nebraska, in college, I did randonneuring for a few years. I kind of wanted to get into a more competitive aspect of that," he explains.

"There was already a record set, it was 10 years old or something, and I was like 'I think I could beat that'. I had a lot of fitness from a gravel race that was in terrible weather, and nobody finished that race. It was great - I rode Kansas, west to east, in just around 24 hours."

Maverick

Cycling can be quite a robotic, repetitive sport. Lambie doesn't fit that mould.

"That aspect of cycling is probably one of my least favourite parts," he admits. "I take a gravel bike into our training camps because I don't own a road bike, that's pretty absurd for many international cyclists. It's totally ridiculous."

Another thing that clearly marks him out is his flowing moustache, which the 27-year-old first grew when in college.

"I've had it almost six years. I've had it longer than I've been married! A bunch of us did No-Shave November and it came in pretty well, so I've never shaved it off.

"My wife likes it the way it looks, so I'll keep it!"

Tokyo calling

The individual pursuit isn't an Olympic event, and it hasn't been since Beijing 2008 when Bradley Wiggins won gold.

But Lambie is also part of the U.S. team pursuit squad, which took the Pan-American title with a new national record.

"Tokyo is definitely the goal of this whole programme," he says. But getting to the Japanese capital in two years won't be straightforward.

"Qualifications got a lot harder this last cycle," Lambie explains. "We were hoping there'd be a continental allocation that we would get two countries from North and South America.

"But now it's just straight top eight best teams in the whole world, so there's a huge emphasis on the team pursuit."

And what happens after Tokyo? Will he go back to his first love?

"I wouldn't say there's much of a long-term plan," he says.

"But I do love gravel, and that's right out my back door. I like to keep my options open."

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