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Tom Pidcock: 'It would have been a fairy tale to win'

Home favourite had a quick chat with Cyclist after a whirlwind day of tough racing and a huge mix of emotions. Photo:

Jack Elton-Walters
27 Sep 2019

Likely to have been weighing heavy on his shoulders, Tom Pidcock went into the men's under-23 road race at the World Championships as most people's favourite for the win. The Yorkshire native knows the roads, had the home crowd behind him and has a palmares to welcome another rainbow.

As it was, he crossed the finish line fourth after launching his sprint on the finishing straight in Harrogate only to 'pop just before the line.'

Thinking he'd missed the podium, Pidcock was keen to leave but a UCI official stopped him without explanation. As it was, the race jury was reviewing the race due to reports about the original winner, Nils Eekhoff.

After much deliberation, the young Dutchman was seen leaving the commissaires' tent distraught after he'd been stripped of the title. The judges had reviewed footage of him drafting a team car to get back to the pack after an early crash and deemed him to have taken shelter for too long.

The result moved Pidcock up to third, news his younger brother met with a smile and rushed to the podium with a Yorkshire flag to wave during the presentations.

Once Pidcock had been through the presentation and doping control, he spoke to Cyclist on his way to meet his family and return home to nearby Leeds.

'Yeah it’s alright,' Pidcock said when asked the obvious question about how he was feeling. 'I mean obviously I wanted to win. I did my best.'

Emotional in a way that isn't common for the straight-talking Yorkshireman, the 20-year-old was seen in tears at the end of the race - when he thought he'd come fourth, and again later when his place on the podium had been confirmed.

But was this because of the day or as a result of the pressure that comes with home roads and his racing reputation?

'A bit of both actually,' he explained. 'The day was pretty incredible to be honest. That finish with all them crowds. I just popped just before the line, you know.

'It would have been a fairytale to win but it’s turned out to just be bronze.'

With regards to Eekhoff's disqualification, Pidcock simply said, 'I haven’t seen it, I don’t know.'

It's now time for a rest before his cyclocross season starts in a fortnight.