Tom Fricker is the 2016 Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales King of the Mountains

Over 5,000 people signed up to take on Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France last year, with scorching weather adding an extra layer of difficulty to the already legendarily tough ride. Out of the thousands who attempted the Devil’s Elbow, a closed road climb with a height of 446m and gradients reaching 20% on the bends, 21 year old Tom Fricker from Reading was the fastest.

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Tom’s superb time of 4 minutes flat wins him an official polka dot jersey and VIP tickets to watch Le Tour de France in Paris. Speaking about the climb, which he appropriately took on in polka dot socks, Tom said: “I was eagerly anticipating the Devil’s Elbow as I’d heard many good things about it, but after riding along the valley road to the foot of the climb it looked extremely daunting. I attacked the climb from the first hairpin and had to spend a lot of the ascent warning riders in front I was approaching! They all gave me plenty of space so once I passed the last photographer I could open up my sprint for the line.”

Despite Tom clocking the fastest time, he revealed that he could have gone even quicker: “As I hadn’t ridden the climb before I was uncertain how far the top was from the last bend, so in hindsight I should have dug a little deeper on the second half to maximise my effort. It still took me a good 50km to properly recover from the effort, and I’m a little disappointed I didn’t look at the view more on the way up!”

If you would like to experience the mighty Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France in 2017, and attempt to beat Tom Fricker’s time, you can enter now. Head to www.dragonride.co.uk.