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Tom Pidcock smashes Sa Calobra KOM by nearly two minutes

Uploading his effort to Strava with full power data, Pidcock ascended the legendary climb in 22:46

Tom Pidcock is the new proud holder of the Sa Calobra Strava KOM after smashing the previous best time by almost two minutes on Sunday.

Riding the famous Mallorcan climb while at the Ineos Grenadiers winter training camp, Pidcock set a head-turning new best time of 22:46 up the twisting 9.4km that averages 7 per cent.

 

With more than 116,000 attempts Sa Calobra is a testing ground for pros and amateurs alike, the head of the Strava leaderboard a who's who of the peloton — Gianni Moscon, Simon Yates, Sebastián Henao and British hill climbing specialist Ed Laverack.

But now ahead of them all by quite a sizeable margin is the young Brit whose talent on a bike appears to have no limits, a cyclocross world champion who won the Tour de France's Alpe d'Huez stage and is touted for a tilt at Grand Tours in the future.

386w for 22 minutes

Being a good sport Pidcock has even uploaded his ride to Strava with full power data, showing he held 386 watts for 22 minutes to take the crown meaning, at his listed Strava weight of 58kg, an eye-watering 'off-season' watts per kilogram of 6.7.

Tom Pidcock Sa Calobra (Strava)

Being on training camp, and riding alongside teammates such as Ethan Hayter, Pavel Sivakov, Connor Swift and Michał Kwiatkowski we don't know how much drafting assistance Pidock had, but from Kwiatkowski and Hayter's times of 29:39 and 29:59 respectively, it seems unlikely he was towed all the way to the top.

The 386 watts meant a quite silly average speed of 24.9km/h up the seven per cent average slopes and carried Pidcock to KOM victory by 1:50 over Laverack's previous best, set back in April.

Tom Pidcock Sa Calobra (Strava)

Speaking on his YouTube channel, the previous KOM-holder called it a "very sombre day in the Laverack household" but went on to stress he was "so happy" to see someone of Pidcock's ability showing his talent on the climb.

"I was shocked," Laverack admitted. "But so happy at the same time when I saw it because it's amazing that someone at this level can show what they can do. It really puts into perspective the difference in level between someone like myself and Tom. It's really cool to see.

"He rode to the climb, which is what I did as well so we're on level ground as far as that goes, he did do an effort though to get to the climb whereas I just ambled there and tried to conserve as much energy as possible.

"Sometimes these guys hide their power data or hide their heart rate and keep their power data so you don't know if it's full gas. I'm fairly confident this is a full gas effort from Tom — 172bpm average and maxes out just over 180bpm."

Commenting on whether he believes he could close the gap to Pidcock's time, Laverack said: "I would like to think if everything was absolutely perfect then I could get closer but I probably wouldn't get a minute and 50 seconds faster.

"I am taking it with a pinch of salt because it's an Ineos Grenadiers training camp, there may have been at least five or six of them on the climb at the same time. Who knows? He could have got a bit of pacing at the bottom. We don't know these things.

"What a performance by Tom. How motivating and cool is that? It's inspirational seeing it done first hand, I'm in no way upset or angry or any of the feelings you think you would feel. When someone takes it and they're of this calibre you've just got to take your hat off to them."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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11 comments

Avatar
Christopher TR1 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Ha! He didn't take my KOM!

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Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

Astonishing by Pidcock. It would be interesting to know what the circumstances were in terms of pacing and drafting teammates (or cars, not suggesting any cheating but they may be a bit more relaxed about being nearer the team car with no commissaires to tell them off); usually one would say drafting won't make much dfference on a climb but it will if you're going to climb at 25kmh! Not trying to take anything away from an amazing effort but...if Laverack's Wiki weight is correct at 59kg the extra 8W from Pidcock at 58kg shouldn't produce anything like a two-minute differential, it should be closer to a few seconds, so suspect some outside (totally legitimate) assistance played a part. 

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joe9090 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
3 likes

I bet he was not the same weight at the top as he was at the bottom!!!

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chrisonabike replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
4 likes

Good point, consider the local gravity.  And he was clearly going very fast so we should use the full relativistic calculation.  Although his velocity will have slowed down his personal clock so - if that's the time used for the speed calculation - for an external observer he may have been even faster...

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

Lots of other things could make the difference without needing to draft to enable it. 

I would discount the other riders unless they relayed him up being as none of the others who posted on the day were anywhere near his time or seemed to show data indicating relay (Kwiatkowski for example seemed to do intervals at the start then maintained an almost exact power for the rest of it). And assuming the road wasn't closed, being right behind a team car would have been less of an advantage due to how windining and narrow the road is. 

 

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Rendel Harris replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like

To be clear, I'm not trying to denigrate the incredible achievement at all, I'm just curious as to what might be responsible for such a big time discrepancy between two riders only a kilogram and eight watts apart. The wind speed yesterday maxxed out at a decidely moderate 4mph, apparently, so that can't be a factor.

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Air pressure, and temperature does make a surprising amount of difference so its hard to compare like for like efforts on different days. 

Also, pidcock is small and compact, whereas Laverick is a bit longer and spread out... Tom will be aerodynamically a fair bit more effective. 

Finally, you need to consider the 'pro' effect. I think Dowsett once said about time trialling, that the focus is not about how many watts you produce, but by how fast your watts make you go. The natural assumption from this was that Alex was talking about aero, but he was also talking about when to apply the watts. I imagine Pidcock will naturally be very good at applying the watts in the fastest way (although his file does look remarkably consistent).

 

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HLaB | 1 year ago
0 likes

That was some tailwind 😮

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Jem PT | 1 year ago
0 likes

Considerably quicker than me!

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SimoninSpalding | 1 year ago
10 likes

Well at least I know what I have to do to reach his level now. A simple case of increasing my power output by 50% whilst reducing my weight by a third.

A brilliant ride, and hats off for making all the data available.

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Dnnnnnn replied to SimoninSpalding | 1 year ago
2 likes
SimoninSpalding wrote:

A simple case of increasing my power output by 50% whilst reducing my weight by a third.

It's good to have clear targets - let us know when you've hit them

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