Tom Pidcock, exceptional champion, alternates disciplines like Ledecká

Thomas Pidcock, 24, competes in cyclocross, MTB – XCO, on the road, and in all these disciplines he is among the best in the world. In today’s niche world, that’s admirable. “Pidders”, as his relatives call him, actually reminds him of Ester Ledecká.

There are other universal pilots – Peter Sagan, Mathieu van der Poel or Wout van Aert. However, none of them have achieved such mastery in “changing fields”.

Let’s count his greatest achievements – this year the Team INEOS Grenadier rider won the great classic Strade Bianche on the road, then the mountain bikes in Nové Město in Moravia and now he is also the world champion in the most Olympic category. popular XCO. Added to this are 2nd place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 3rd in the Amstel Gold Race, other great world classics on the road. And he finished 13th overall in the Tour de France.

Last year, he first became world champion in cyclo-cross, then Olympic champion in MTB XCO and added to that the title of European champion XCO. He was no slouch on the road either, winning the royal Tour de France stage in Alpe d’Huez, adding two more MTB World Cup victories and a third place finish in the classic Dwaars Door. Vlaanderen. And he finished second overall in the Tour of Britain.

In 2021 he won the Brabant Arrow road classic and finished second in the Amstel Gold Race, perhaps half a lap behind Wout van Aert. And he also dominated the Superprestige cyclocross race at Gaver.

None of this could surprise anyone. Pidcock has already dazzled in the three mentioned disciplines as a junior. By the way, he even won the junior time trial at the 2017 UCI World Championships. Two and a half months later he also dominated the Paris-Roubaix junior race after a separate breakaway at Carrefour de l’Arbre 15 km from the finish.

Now at the World Championships in Scotland, he once again dominated the main XCO track (he was third in short track) despite having had mechanical problems with the derailleur in the last two rounds. As he said himself, he couldn’t go full speed and was praying to make it happen.

It’s the lightness and technical sophistication with which it manages to drive that is admirable. This can be seen in the three disciplines mentioned. Last year, he mesmerized road cycling fans when he raced down a Tour de France alpine pass into a valley at 105km/h.

On Saturday you could see how he literally played with the mountain bike in difficult passages and how much fun he had. At the same time, he only started from fifth place and compared to other “specialists” he should have had a huge disadvantage. They ride mountain bikes much less than themselves.

But halfway through the race at Glentress Forest, he was already in the lead, alongside South African Alan Hatherly and ten-time world champion Nino Schurter (Switzerland), and on the penultimate lap he broke away. started on the climb. As if nothing had happened, he simply accelerated, started and it was decided.

But he himself mentioned the difficulty of changing disciplines during the season. “It’s difficult to come from the Tour and stay focused on an event like this where it’s completely different. It’s quite hard mentally. Even though I like mountain biking and it’s nice.

Before the finish line, he turned around, checked his huge lead, calmly gripped the white rose flag, the symbol of his home county of Yorkshire (a bit cheeky in Scotland), raised his arms above his head at the frantic chanting from the fans, then threw the flag behind him into the dust of the Scottish Highlands.

“I don’t have to choose (disciplines), do I,” he told reporters after the finish line.

John Robinson

"Extreme gamer. Food geek. Internet buff. Alcohol expert. Passionate music specialist. Beeraholic. Incurable coffee fan."

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