Tadej Pogačar, currently on a training camp with UAE Team Emirates near Alicante in Spain, has set a record time on the iconic Coll de Rates mountain, which featured most recently on the 2021 Vuelta a España.
Maintaining an average gradient of 6.6 per cent on a 9.7 kilometre route, Coll de Rates has 645 metres of climbing and is often cited as a staple for cyclists when in the Costa Blanca region of Spain.
Posting the full ride to his Strava, Coll de Rates took Pogačar 24:50 minutes to complete, achieving an astounding average pace of 23.5 kilometres per hour. The Slovenian also secured Strava's 'King of the Mountain' award for the segment, beating the previous record by 14 seconds.
Tadej Pogacar set today a new record time on Coll de Rates (Strava segment). 23.5 Kph @ 6.5 % avg. gradient is serious one. Do not have better things to do on Sunday night, so gonna calculate VAM and est. power by reameasuring the climb. pic.twitter.com/YAQMVwnBIHJanuary 9, 2022
Perhaps even more spectacular though is that the two-time Tour de France winner set this record 85 miles into a ride, having already endured plenty of climbing in the Sierra del Ferrer mountain range in preparation for the upcoming season.
Overall, Pogačar rode 118.34 miles with his UAE Team Emirates teammates, covering 12,560 feet of elevation changes in just over six hours.
The Slovenian's 2022 preparations are therefore clearly well underway, and he is expected to start his season with the UAE Tour from February 20-26.
Pogačar will then compete in the Spring Classics after that season opener, such as Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, before looking to defend his Tour de France title in the summer and add a third yellow jersey to his collection.
Despite his ambitions and winning the Velo d'Or 2021 prize, Pogačar recently claimed the peloton shouldn't worry about him as much as they do, suggesting on the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast he has plenty of weaknesses other riders can exploit.
However, AG2R Citroën rider Ben O'Connor, who finished fourth in the 2021 Tour de France general classification, stated the Slovenian is "untouchable", while Giro d'Italia president Mauro Vegni has challenged the 23-year-old to attempt the Giro-Tour double, something no rider has achieved successfully since Marco Pantani's triumph in 1998. Chris Froome notably failed in 2018, coming up short in the Tour de France after winning the Italian Grand Tour.
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