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Tom Pidcock surprised at becoming 'second-best in the world in cyclocross'

The 20-year-old finished second in the elite cyclocross World Championships behind Mathieu van der Poel

Joe Robinson
3 Feb 2020

Tom Pidcock has expressed his shock at becoming the 'second-best in the world in cyclocross' after taking silver behind Mathieu van der Poel at the World Championships.

The 20-year-old rode an expert race in his elite-level debut, fending off the Belgian team to take second on the day, finishing behind triple champion Van der Poel.

After crossing the finish line in Dufendorf, Switzerland, Pidock told of how the result surpassed his expectations coming into the championships.

'To be honest I didn’t think I would be that strong. I knew this course and these conditions would suit me. It was incredible,' said Pidcock.

'I am the second-best in the world in cyclocross today. It is unreal. Mathieu is one of the best riders in the world, and I was second behind him today. It is incredible.'

While Van der Poel ran away with his emphatic lead from the very first lap, Pidcock battled hard in the opening laps alongside Belgian foursome Michael Vantournout, Toon Aerts, Eli Iserbyt and Wout van Aert.

On the muddy, technical course Pidcock launched a stinging attack on the third lap of seven to distance himself from the rest. Initially, Iserbyt followed the attack before dropping off.

Pidcock persevered with his efforts, eventually crossing the finish line 1 minute 20 seconds behind Van der Poel and 25 seconds ahead of Aerts who completed the podium.

His result saw Britain secure its first elite men's cyclocross medal. It was also the first elite British medal at the cyclocross World Championships since Helen Wyman's bronze at Hoogerheide in 2014.

Pidcock secured the first elite Worlds medal despite still being eligible to race in the Under-23 category. However, having won the Under-23 title last season, Pidcock decided to jump up to the elite level to contest against the world's best. It was a decision that Pidcock said proved correct.

'I could have stayed in U23, it would have been easier, but ultimately I am on the podium among the elites, it’s very pleasant,' Pidcock explained.

'It’s also weird because I was sick all week. Since Tuesday I haven’t really ridden, but maybe it has been good for me. Maybe I should be sick more often.'

Earlier in the weekend, Britain's Anna Kay secured the only other medal as she took bronze in the women's Under-23 race behind France's Marion Riberolle and Hungary's Kata Vas.

Image: Trinity Racing