Tom Pidcock is World CX Champion!

After a tactical start with the Belgians swarming around him, Tom ‘superman’ Pidcock put the hammer down and drove his rivals into the ground, opening up a big gap and winning solo in the same manner he did when he won the British title at Cyclopark a few years ago.

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Tom Pidcock is World Champion!

After a tactical start with the Belgians swarming around him and the French taking the front too, Tom put the hammer down and drove them into the ground, opening up a big gap and celebrating the win just as he did when he won the British title at Cyclopark a few years ago.

Photo: UCI Cyclocross (Twitter)

Tom Pidcock has won the men’s cyclo-cross world champion for the first time in his career. He rode far away from his biggest rivals Lars van der Haar and Eli Iserbyt, who took the silver and bronze. In the opening phase of the race, a small, compact peloton crossed the finish line after the first lap, including riders like Clément Venturini and Kevin Kuhn as well as the favourites.

Venturini turned out to be perhaps the biggest surprise for the men, because after twenty minutes of cross, the Frenchman tried to thin out the peloton with a solid turn at the front, and not for the first time. The 28-year-old rider succeeded quite well in this and with six laps to go, ten riders remained in the hunt for the world title, including the six top favs.

A lap later, Pidcock decided his time had come to go it alone. He’d already countered a strong attack by the Belgiums and he followed that up on the long climb by hitting it hard. Nobody was able to follow and so Pidcock’s first attack was the winning one. Iserbyt still counter attacked, but like everyone else, he quickly lost ground. Behind Iserbyt and Pidcock, Venturini, who competed for third place with Aerts, Vanthourenhout and Van der Haar, tried again. The Frenchman swept up Iserbyt with the Belgians and Dutch on his wheel, after which a new situation arose – one in which four Belgians, a Dutchman and a Frenchman unsuccessfully chased the British rider who was extening his lead all the time.

When Pidcock had created a lead of forty seconds, the battle for silver and bronze erupted behind the Briton. Van der Haar seemed to have the best legs of the six chasers as he put in a solid acceleration on the final climb two laps before the end, where only Iserbyt could follow. The Belgian was unable to take over and it was all van der Haar chasing Pidcock whilst Iserbyt sat on his wheel with the gap between him and Van Der Haar yoyoing up and down.

Iserbyt did try and attack but Van Der Haar was equal to it and the fight for the two medals came down to a sprint and in the sprint, the Dutchman turned out to be faster than the Belgian.

In his post race interview, Tom Pidcock, the first British male rider to win the Elite World Men’s Cyclocross championship, said “That was always going to be a super hard race. The drier it became, the more tactics would play a part and the Belgiums were riding a very tactical race, and I went out there having none of it and then I found my opportunity and made it stick.”

Being the race favourite, Tom says “I think with Wout and Mathieu not being here, I think it became almost harder to win the race because everyone was expecting the race to be easier but you can’t go into the race with that mentality. It’s going to be super hard no matter who is in it. We came here with a plan and a process and we stuck to the process and it turned out good in the end”.

“Coming to America a week before and being in a hotel, the stress builds up, and it’s a difficult one to manage for sure.” On winning three world titles in a year (CX, MTB and Road), Tom simply replied with a big grin, “it hasn’t gone down the drain yet so far this year ….”

Photo: UCI Cyclocross (Twitter)

Lars van der Haar: “Today I encountered someone who chose a better moment. I have lost gold. This was the highest achievable after the situation that had arisen in the race. That jersey would have looked good on me too,” he says with a wink. “No, I was really good today.”

“I don’t think the Belgians can blame themselves. They kept dropping gaps for me and sacrificing themselves for Iserbyt after Pidcock rode away, so the tactic was understandable. I’ve had a really good season. I am really comfortable in my own skin.”

Eli Iserbyt: “I don’t think we did anything wrong. We have been knocked down. When Pidcock went, I thought wow and immediately knew what it was time. Just before that, we had tried with Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout and Laurens Sweeck, so we really did everything we could.”

“I also saw from the beginning that Pidcock still had more in the tank. Maybe it’s a shame I wasn’t directly on his wheel when he went, but I don’t know if that would have mattered,” he reflects honestly.

Is Pidcock the rightful world champion, “Wow, it’s deserved. Pidcock is someone who definitely wants to ride cyclocross and always makes it when he participates, so I have to accept it and look forward. I am also satisfied with this World Championship” he concludes. “The organization was great. In terms of audience, it was worth it. It is certainly a good idea to return to the United States once every few years.”

1. Tom Pidcock 1:00:36
2. Lars Van Der Haar @ 30
3. Eli Iserbyt @ 32
4. Michael Vanthourenhout @ 52
5. Clément Venturini @ 57
6. Toon Aerts @ 1:02
7. Jens Adams @ 1:06
8. Laurens Sweeck @ 1:16
9. Kevin Kuhn @ 1:36
10. Daan Soete @ 1:44
14. Ben Turner @ 1:48
20. Thomas Mein @ 3:12



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