Pidcock Adds Rainbow Jersey to His Growing Collection
One of Britain’s most promising young riders, Tom Pidcock, claimed victory in the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships on Sunday in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The 22-year-old cruised across the line to win the rainbow jersey, and in some style eventually finishing 30 seconds ahead of Lars van der Haar (Netherlands), and Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) another two seconds off the pace in third place for bronze.
Rather incredibly, this is the first time in seven years that the elite men’s race at the Cyclo-Cross World Championships was not won by either Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) or Wout van Aert (Belgium). With both absent from this year’s race, Pidcock lead the changing of the guard, and in the process, added to his mountain biking gold at the Olympics last summer.
“I think it became harder to win the race,” he said, about their absence. “But we came in with a plan and a process. We stuck to the process and it was good in the end.”
“I think after the first half lap, I knew I had really good legs.”
“I was really aware of the tactics that Belgium were trying to play. When Michael (Vanthourenhout) went, he went really hard up the climb. I thought, if I just jumped over the top of him now everyone’s kind of suffering. So it’d be a good time to go. Everyone expects the climb to be the place to go, but actually a lot of time can be made on the other parts of course as well.”
“That was always going to be a super-hard race. The Belgians were trying to ride a tactical race. I found an opportunity and made it stick.”
Indeed, Vanthourenhout attempted a strong acceleration coming up to the long climb, but Pidcock matched the move with a late cut-in on the inside of a left turn and surged ahead for the lead. The Briton then used his speed off the large descent of the stairway to gain a significant lead over the pack, opening up a five-second margin to Iserbyt in second and the other chasing Belgians.
By the start of lap five, the closest pursuers to Pidcock were 22 seconds back – Iserbyt, Vanthourenhout, Venturini, Van der Haar and Sweeck.
Having surged ahead of the rest of the competitors, he even had time to celebrate in style by lying on his saddle using his stomach to make a Superman-style pose as he crossed the line, while also pulling some BMX jump and kick-outs in the final 100 metres.
Clinching a win here could be the start of a very promising 2022 for Pidcock, who is part of the supremely talented roster at Ineos Grenadiers. The Leeds-born 22-year-old is competing for three world titles in 2022, including the cycle-cross, which he has claimed already, as well as mountain biking and road championships. No doubt an incredibly skilled rider in multiple disciplines, 2022 could be year to remember.