Leeds cyclist Tom Pidcock leaves rivals in wake to win the World Cyclo-cross Championship

Yorkshire’s Tom Pidcock powered his way to World Cyclo-cross Championship glory yesterday, winning the title race in America in emphatic style.

Victory celebration: Leeds' Tom Pidcock celebrates his victory in the  2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships for Elite Men. Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com
Victory celebration: Leeds' Tom Pidcock celebrates his victory in the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships for Elite Men. Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com

The 22-year-old from Leeds attacked on the fourth of nine laps of a dry but testing circuit at Fayetteville, Arkansas, leaving his rivals behind and quickly building a lead of around 30 seconds over the next couple of laps.

Having coped well with team tactics from several Belgian riders for the first few laps Pidcock - the reigning Olympic mountain bike champion - shrugged them off and went it alone.

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He appeared to relish the freedom of an open course, putting the power down where it mattered with a fine display of technique and power. After his gap extended to nearly 40 seconds on lap seven he settled into a rhythm around 30 seconds ahead and his rivals knew they were fighting for second.

Victory hug: Tom Pidcock celebrates his brilliant victory. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

“It was always going to be a super hard race,” said Pidcock afterwards. “The Belgians were trying to ride a tactical race but I was having none of it.

“I took the opportunity and made it stick.

“We came here with a plan and a process and we stuck to it and it turned out good in the end.

“After a week in a hotel out here the stress builds up and it was a difficult one to manage for sure.”

Pidcock’s victory was his first senior World Cyclo-cross Championship win, but he was junior World Champion in 2017 while he won the Under-23 crown in 2019.

Further down the field, Doncaster’s Ben Turner finished 14th while national champion Thomas Mein finished 20th.

In other categories Zoe Backstedt won gold for Great Britain in the junior women’s World Championship on Saturday, crossing the line 32 seconds ahead of the Netherlands’ Leonie Bentvelt in Saturday’s race.

And her GB team-mate Nathan Smith took bronze in the Under-23 men’s World Championship yesterday.