Mt. Washington Auto Road Records Shake-Up

Two cyclists have lost their claim to Mount Washington Auto Road course and division records after they admitted to doping.

Organizers of the two highly popular bicycle races up the Mt. Washington Auto Road announced this week that the times ridden by Tyler Hamilton of the United States and Genevieve Jeanson of Canada in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will no longer be considered official records for the all-uphill course.

The decision follows the recent confirmation by Hamilton that during his professional racing career he regularly used performance-enhancing drugs, as well as Jeanson’s admission in 2007 that she did the same for virtually her entire career.

Former French cycling star Jeanie Longo retroactively regains the women’s open record. In 2000, her only appearance at the Auto Road, Longo made the climb in 58 minutes 14 seconds, nearly four minutes faster than the then-record time of 1:01:57 that Jeanson had ridden in her Mt. Washington debut in 1999.  Jeanson returned in 2002 and beat Longo’s time with a 54:02, then won again in 2003, her last appearance here (59:58).

In 2002, 24-year-old Tom Danielson of Connecticut became the first and, so far, only person to ride up Mt. Washington in under 50 minutes, clocking a time of 49:24 to better Hamilton’s performance. While Danielson’s 2002 time is the men’s open record, Hamilton’s 2006 time had remained the record for men aged 35-39, until this week’s announcement from Mary Power, director of the Hillclimb and of Newton’s Revenge, the other bike race held each summer on the 7.6-mile Auto Road. Now the men’s record-holder for that age group is Mike Engleman, who, at 39, finished second to Hamilton in 1997 in a time of 53:53.

“These races are held independent of any other governing body, and we have never conducted drug testing for them,” Power said. “However, following the revelation by Tyler, as well as Genevieve’s earlier confirmation that she used banned drugs from the age of 16 until her retirement 10 years later, we are respecting the rulings of national and international cycling federations, and we are no longer recognizing any of their times here as records.”  

Newton’s Revenge will be held this year on Satuday, July 9, with a possible postponement date of July 10 if the weather on the 9th creates hazardous conditions on the mountain.  The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will take place on Saturday, August 20, with a similar weather-alternative date of Sunday the 21st.  Each race starts at 8:40 a.m. with the Top Notch (elite) group, followed by three successive waves sorted by age group at 8:45, 8:50 and 8:55 a.m.