The 21-year-old quickly found himself at home since joining the Ineos Grenadiers this season, clinching a huge victory at Brabantse Pijl last month before taking second place in a controversial Amstel Gold Race finish photo.
A rider who has racked up junior and under-23 titles in cyclocross, mountain bike and on the road is looking to have the world at his feet and a wish list on his phone that includes the Tour de France.
“If someone mentions cycling in the UK, think of someone like Mark Cavendish, that’s what I want to be, I want to be a name that I associate with him,” Pidcock told the PA news agency.
“In Formula One it is Lewis Hamilton, in tennis it is Roger Federer or maybe Andy Murray if you are British. That’s where I want to get to in sports. “
From any point of view, the beginning of Pidcock’s life at the WorldTour level has been outstanding.
After taking third place at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, he reached the Strade Bianche final in March challenging an elite group that included current world champion Julian Alaphilippe and Tour de France winners Egan Bernal and Tadej Pogacar, finishing finally fifth.
“There was a point in that race where I was just rotating and you see, there are two Tour winners, the world champion and a four-time cyclocross world champion (eventual race winner Mathieu van der Poel),” said Pidcock.
“You think, ‘wow, I’m in the mix here, I’m up front with the biggest riders in the world.”
Pidcock said he had felt an “easy transition” to the WorldTour, but is used to changing gears afterwards. This month he swapped his road bike for a mountain bike, but didn’t slow down.
He won his first game of the season in Leukerbad, Switzerland, earlier in the month before challenging a puncture to turn 100th place into fifth in the opening race of the UCI World Cup in Albstadt, Germany on Sunday.
The results underscored Pidcock’s obvious medal potential for this summer’s Olympics, but there is a major problem: qualifying for Tokyo is out of his hands.
Britain doesn’t have enough points to qualify for a spot, but Pidcock could still sneak in. The first two nations that did not qualify from the previous U-23 world championships also get a ticket: Great Britain came in third place, so whether Romania or Chile qualify directly. Britain is next in line.
Final tickets to Tokyo will be drilled in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, this weekend, but with its fate to be determined by others, Pidcock will race like any other race.
“I think I have a very good chance of a medal (in Tokyo) and I think the biggest chance is on mountain bikes on the road, so it sure is one of my goals for the season,” said Pidcock.
“I’d keep doing what I’m doing, I’d be doing these races (regardless of qualifying), so it doesn’t change anything in terms of how I approach it.”
After this World Cup, Pidcock’s next race will be back on the road at the Tour de Suisse early next month. After that, wait, the Olympics are coming, while the season finale will be built around a Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España, which kicks off on August 14.
It’s a hectic schedule for a rider who never enjoys a true off-season while switching disciplines, taking shorter breaks whenever he can find them.
“I want to win the Tour de France, so at some point in my career I will have to stop other things and focus on the road,” he said.
“I would need to put the other things, maybe not all together, but I would have to take a step back.”
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This notice was published: 2021-05-10 21:52:13