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Bullish Pidcock backs himself at first World Cup Cross-country of 2023

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Bullish Pidcock backs himself at first World Cup Cross-country of 2023

1 year ago

“I’ve never lost in Nove Mesto,” points out a grinning Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) ahead of the first round of the UCI Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup.

The British rider knows as well as anyone that anything can happen but he’s certainly earned the right to be upbeat about his chances in Sunday’s Olympic race at the Czech venue where he has stood on the top step of a World Cup podium four times.

Following a short but high-profile cyclocross campaign and a hugely-successful spring season on the road, it’s hardly surprising the 23-year-old is backing himself.

Pidcock won the Strade Bianche and made the podium at Amstel Gold Race and then Liege-Bastogne-Liege, before switching focus from drop to flat bars earlier this month.

A victory at the Swiss Cup in Chur last weekend saw the British rider get the better of a stacked field which included both World Champion Nino Schurter and a resurgent Mathias Fluckiger.

And Pidcock, who won the Cross-country gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is looking forward to competing for the leader’s jersey at Nove Mesto Na Morave on his all-new Pinarello Dogma XC bike.

Pidcock and teammate World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot with their all-new bikes

“I really like the course, I just feel good here,” he says.

“It’s technical and pretty physical. All the roots means there’s not much rest, even on the flat you are having to work to keep momentum over the roots and there are quite a few climbs too - more than a minute long.

“This is the first opportunity I’ve had to take the leader’s jersey since I was U23 and I’m excited about that.”

Pidcock, who will be riding in his European Champion’s jersey, is quick to point out though that he’s yet to win a Short Track World Cup (XCC) tending to view the race as a stepping stone for the XCO.

“The XCC to me is just a race to get a good position for the real race, if you like, the XCO,” he says.

“I think it’s not a bad thing, you get a little hit out and it’s only 20 minutes and it’s hard and intense and sets you up nicely for the race on Sunday.”

Pidcock, a Tour de France stage winner, says his focus for this year will be the World Championship in Scotland and after that he’ll be looking to defend his Olympic title in Paris next year.

“Last year I got ill the week before the Worlds,” he says.

“I still managed to get fourth which I’m pretty amazed with. I just finished and I was completely empty mentally, physically.

“This year I want to go back especially with it being in Glasgow.”

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