Tom Pidcock has taken to social media to address safety concerns after a video of his descending skills went viral on Wednesday.
On the evening of Tuesday, February 21, a video of Pidcock descending ‘Tuna Canyon’ in Los Angeles was uploaded to YouTube. It was filmed in October by Brian ‘Safa’ Wagner, who followed closely behind wearing helmet-mounted and chest-mounted GoPros. It was then uploaded to Wagner’s ‘SAFA Brian’ account. By Thursday morning, more than 420,000 people had watched.
Most commenters were in awe of the Briton’s skills, with some describing it as art, flawless, and captivating. However, a percentage of the video’s viewers have focussed not on the skill, but the risks involved, with even Pidcock himself describing it as “sketchy.”
One commenter pointed out that Pidcock was “literally putting his season on the line,” while another added “can’t imagine his team will be too thrilled seeing this.”
Responding to these and similar concerns, the 23-year-old who won a stage of the 2022 Tour de France stage with a similarly scintillating descent of the Col du Galibier, took to Instagram Stories.
“For those asking, I did recce the descent a few times,” Pidcock claimed, his Strava proving at least one dry run an hour before the daredevil descent. “It was a one way and there was a car ahead making sure all clear.”
The descent, which spans 4.4km, drops 390 metres at an average gradient of -9.75%, maxing out at -18%. It comprises 65 corners of varying severity, with one of the early bends almost catching Pidcock out, causing what appeared to be a pedal strike.
“I’ve been told it’s a ‘kids don’t try this at home’ one – very true!” he continued, before adding “but kids, get out riding with your mates, have fun, ive [sic] been 1000s of hours messing around on bikes with my mates before I had [the] skills to do this.”
This claim holds true with Pidcock’s slow but certain progression into professional cycling. After winning numerous national and world titles on the road, time trial and cyclo-cross during his teens, including the British National Elite Men’s Circuit Championships title aged just 17, his step up to the WorldTour was inevitable, and teams were vying for his signature even then.
But the Briton continued to take things slowly, to work on his skills, and to ‘mess around’. With a continued focus on the skills-oriented…
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