Leeds’ Tom Pidcock put in the best performance of his debut campaign at elite level to claim a silver medal in today’s Cyclo-cross World Championships in Dubendorf.
Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel led from start to finish to claim his third elite men’s world title, retaining the rainbow jersey he won last year with a display of utter dominance.
But the performance of West Yorkshire’s Pidcock was arguably just as eye-catching as he rode away from a chase group to earn a superb second place – the first time a British elite rider has claimed a podium in a cyclo-cross world championships.
“I’m second-best in the world of cyclo-cross today,” said Pidcock after the race. “I would say I’m second-best in the world but sometimes I’m not.
“It’s unreal. Mathieu is one of the best riders in the world. I was second to him today. That’s incredible. I stepped up to the elite’s this season. I could’ve made it an easy time for myself by racing in the U23s but I’ve come to ride with the elites and I got onto the podium. It’s really pleasing.”
After a solid start from the second row, Pidcock found himself in the chase group with five Belgian riders during the third lap of the race.
“That’s why I wanted to attack – I didn’t think it would be a good place for me to ride against five Belgians overworking me,” Pidcock added.
“It’s strange because I was ill all week. On Tuesday I woke up poorly so I barely rode all week. Maybe that did me good. Maybe I should get ill more often.”
Behind Pidcock, Belgian Toon Aerts profited from a late puncture for triple world champion Wout van Aert to take the final podium spot.
“I think I rode a perfect race,” said winner Van der Poel. “I felt really strong and when I managed to get away on the first lap, that gave me wings.”