Pidcock's bittersweet debut, but his training in a hypoxic hotel seems to have worked
Tom Pidcock has reappeared at the Volta ao Algarve to start his road season. The British rider completed a good first stage despite being penalized for an incident in the final sprint, so it looks like his stay in a hypoxic hotel is working.
Pidcock debuts after thorough preparation for this season
Pidcock has chosen the Volta ao Algarve to start his road season. Although in recent months he has competed in cyclo-cross, he has always prioritized competitions on asphalt. In fact, he gave up defending the rainbow in the CX World Championships to arrive as prepared as possible.
Even so, the Volta ao Algarve is a first contact before reaching the spring classics, which will be real objectives in which he will have the victory as a goal.
Pidcock will have to deal with a busy calendar over the next two months, in which he will race the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, Cross Flanders, Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The British cyclist's coach, Kurt Boagerts, explained that Pidcock is in better shape than at the same time last year. "From the Omloop to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he wants to work on his condition and race everywhere for a win," he told Het Laatse Nieuws.
He also explained that the cyclocross season helped him to gain "satisfaction and confidence", even though he was usually outclassed by the two great dominators of the discipline.
A rarefied start due to an incident in the final sprint
The stewards penalized Pidcock at the end of the first stage of the Volta ao Algarve. Thus, although the British rider crossed the finish line in fifth position after the final sprint, the race judges considered that he made a dangerous maneuver that should have resulted in a penalty.
The action is defined as an "irregular sprint" and it is noted that Pidcock was seen "pushing another rider". The contact occurred when the British rider raised his arm and touched Luís Mendonça with 200 meters to go.
The contact occurred when the INEOS Grenadiers rider tried to squeeze through a gap and stretched out his left arm to probably avoid hitting Mendonça. Even so, the contact existed and moved the Portuguese to the left. Later, he touched again, this time with Timo Kleich.
Hence, Pidcock appears in 135th position (last in the group he was in). In addition, he was penalized about 200 euros and a penalty in the points classification of 25%.
Hypoxic hotel to optimize training
The INEOS Grenadiers rider has been staying for three weeks at the well-known Hotel Syncrosfera in Denia. A particular accommodation that is able to change the room settings to simulate the conditions of being at the altitude selected by the user.
With this type of training, an increase in red blood cells is achieved in response to a lower oxygen concentration.
"It was the first time I slept in an altitude chamber of this type," explained Bogaerts, who added that the training was "not specifically aimed at the start of the season, but to be able to take advantage of it a little bit longer term."