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Tom Pidcock: 'Yorkshire Worlds will be once in a lifetime opportunity'

Jack Elton-Walters
15 Jan 2019

Before his unrivalled performance at the Cyclocross National Championships, Pidcock was already looking ahead to the rest of the season

Speaking to Cyclist ahead of the Cyclocross National Championships, Tom Pidcock already had one eye on the rest of his year, where he will be racing on the road once the cyclocross season comes to a close.

He was victorious at the Cyclocross Nationals, riding away from the field to finish over a minute up on second place, and with that win he became both the Under 23 and Elite National Champion. In fact, there was only one podium presentation for both classifications as the entire top three came from the U23 ranks.

As well as discussing his hopes ahead of that race and his 'cross rivals on the Continent, the 19-year-old also talked about what could prove to be a big year on the road – and in some respects possibly the biggest of his career.

'It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity so it’s something that can’t be missed and I need to give it my best shot,' he said of the UCI World Championships, which will take place in his home county of Yorkshire.

'I’m sure it’s going to be one of the best, if not the best, Worlds of my career including everything I do in the future. I think just riding that race will be pretty special.'

But Pidcock never 'just rides' a race, as he proved at the 2018 Tour of Britain when he finished sixth on the summit finish to Whinlatter Pass, just 21 seconds down on stage winner Wout Poels and ahead of Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

Despite his form, the young rider isn't getting complacent about his selection to represent Great Britain on the roads of Yorkshire, and he knows competition for places will be strong, but that's something he's pleased about.

'It’s my plan to do the [U23] road race and time-trial,' he said. 'Obviously, I need to get selected first and I think that’s going to be difficult in itself.

'There’s going to be a lot of riders who want to go to the race. It’s almost a home race for everyone. Even if people aren’t local to Yorkshire, it’s still in England. Everybody’s going to be pushing each other to be better.'

Despite being familiar with the roads and climbs that will determine who is crowned World Champion, Pidcock recognises that local knowledge isn't without its drawbacks.

'To an extent local knowlegde will be helpful, but then again I think you can easily overthink it and you just need to turn up on the day like it’s any other course and race it.

'Training on the course is completely different to racing on it, and I’m only going to get to race on it once.'

Before the World Championships, Pidcock will return to the site of one of his biggest victories to date: Paris-Roubaix.

In 2017 he won the Junior Paris-Roubaix on the same day that Greg Van Avermaet won the elite race. Now up in the U23 ranks, Pidcock will have to wait until June to see if he can win another commemorative cobblestone.

'I’m racing Roubaix and it’s my last race before I have a break in the middle of the season. The plan is to have a break after Roubaix and build up again to be good at the Worlds.'

Despite establishing himself at the forefront of future British cycling talent, Pidcock still appreciates his situation. Asked about riding alongside – and beating – two Tour de France winners, Pidcock avoids the kind of nonchalance that others might try and affect in such a situation.

'It was pretty cool to be fair. I am still 19, racing against the two biggest names in British cycling – it can feel pretty surreal sometimes.'