Tom Pidcock does things his way. If he had been a crap food aficionado, his institution of selection will undoubtedly be BK (although he insists that the worst it receives with front is dark chocolate and digestives), even though when he had been a Rat Pack crooner, well…you know exactly what tune he would sing. Happily for British bicycle fans, he is neither of these things — rather, he is among the latest young bike racing skills.
Few could argue that the 20-year-old Yorkshireman isn’t WorldTour substance, despite his tender years. And at Trinity Racing — a group basically built around him named after his administration firm — Pidcock is not even in a UCI team. But also crucial in his setup is his sponsorship deal with Red Bull, whose magnificent helmet livery you’ll inevitably see him rushing , whether on street, cyclo-cross or MTB. Present-day names on his palmarès contain those of national winner in cross and Under-23 MTB; he’s also the present U23 Paris-Roubaix champ.
We’re almost conditioned to viewing the fabled and exceptionally effective yellow brick street from GB trail to GB street to the biking Land of Oz that’s the WorldTour, but Pidcock has made his very own pathway. It is almost like he’s dabbling a little here, a bit there, attempting to compose his mind about that sporting stadium he fancies getting a fulltime elite degree world-beater in, and Red Bull eases that.
“Doing cool things is exactly what their brand is all about, and performing three distinct areas is trendy,” states Pidcock, on whom the advertising responsibilities which have elite level game are definitely not missing. “I believe being a sportsman is all about elite functionality, and also being somebody that is marketable. And doing three distinct things, three distinct strategies to advertise them I figure, is three distinct opportunities.”
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That is not to mention Pidcock has lost sight of this purity of bicycle riding. After we caught up with him through lockdown, he was keeping his border sharp, but while caring for the sheer hell of it.
“In the present time, once you’re simply riding for the sake of riding as you do not understand what you are searching for…the weather’s fine, it is super nice to go out at the Dales and enjoy riding the bicycle,” he explained.
With planned a summer blending street racing with mountain bicycle racing, Pidcock has become lots of knobbly-tyred activity in, however, because he alluded to, there’s presently no rushing to be needed. In reality, having completed his cyclo-cross year in February rather than rushed because, he might now be considering missing an whole summer and restarting on the CX bike in the fall. “This would be quite odd,” he states.
For now, he’s producing the best of a lockdown that, on a private level, brings it advantages and pitfalls for Pidcock.
“There are two components for me personally, certainly having a break, with not had a suitable off-season in, for example, four decades. And then, I believe that the major issue is there is just a lot of unknowns, such as when will we begin racing again? Nobody understands. That is not great. I meanwe know [why there’s no racing], however that is not really pleasant,” he states.
Located in the residence in Leeds, Pidcock has attempted to maintain race-sharp while having fun:”I simply use things which are emotionally simple to train, such as obtaining KOMs, I move mountain biking a couple of times every week. And today, I am performing some Zwift races, so that I maintain most of my best,” he states. He admits that, without anybody to compare himself , there is always the issue that heading back to rushing could prove a impolite reawakening.
“There is that stress that you are only going for bike rides and you are likely to receive a right kick when you return into racing since you have just got one rate,” he states. “That is something I think of since that is something I really do have — I could alter speed a good deal since I really do cross, since I race at winter…I do not wish to lose this, because I have never needed such a lengthy period of isolation. For many individuals, it is exactly like going back into the winter , and they understand how to do this. However, I do not.”
Whether he loses any shape or not, 1 thing operating resolutely in Pidcock’s favour is his era. He will be 21 in July, still plenty young enough to stay hot land and, unlike somebody of, say, Chris Froome’s era, young enough a two-year enforced sabbatical does not represent an important proportion of what’s left of his livelihood. Actually, you can not help but believe that if anybody will go against the grain and also emerge from isolation much more of a lean, mean, race-winning machine than they were previously, it is this understated lad in the north.
Maybe the break will give him time to consider where he finally wants his career to proceed, but he insists:”In the moment I do not believe I am able to need to specify. Riders such as G [Geraint Thomas] have performed in Roubaix and he has also won the Tour. The only issue is, I am pretty light [he’s 50kg] to be winning Roubaix, so we’ll see how that impacts me. The junior races and U23 races are rather distinct to the race”
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Paris-Roubaix, the Tour de France — something you may surmise from this quotation is that Pidcock is surely thinking big. And why don’t you? He has, after all, won both the junior and U23 variations of Roubaix, so the elite edition of this is a clear next step.
Employed to stepping hard on the pedals and observing his opponents gradually evaporate in a sea of pained visages, Pidcock doesn’t think small. He doesn’t believe in high -10s (though that is something he’s needing to force himself to adapt to having made the step up to elite level); he believes in wins.
The matter he’ll admit, and it is possibly where his desire to split comes out of, is that he won’t ever win a bunch sprint.
“The item I am worst at is group sprints. Place it like this. I am constantly working on sprints, since they’re great for crosslegged, and you have got to really have a fantastic dash to win a bicycle race out of any group. But I am never going to become a bunch winner at a WorldTour race. I won’t ever be able to perform 600 watts…” he corrects himself,”1,600 watts, I mean!”
Anything he proceeds to win the street, it is difficult to escape from the truth that Pidcock is very much a CX racer in mind, and puts his triumph at the 2017 Junior CX Worlds on very top of his record.
“The elite teaser, coming next [this year] was likely the largest outcome,” he states, however,”the junior Worlds mean the most to me personally. I had been dreaming of it for a year because the teaser earlier, then to have the three people on the podium [fellow Brits Dan Tulett and Ben Turner were second and third]…that is why.”
A gambling man might bet in a couple of decades, he’ll be riding for a WorldTour staff and doing good things, but for now he’s completely perfect. He does not need to define. He is, after all, the very definition of a”gifted multi-threat of a rider”, as Red Bull sets it.
Anticipate him to depart lockdown stronger, wiser, but still about the only route he knows — his very own.
This feature originally appeared in the print version of Cycling Weekly, available in newsagents and supermarkets, priced #1. 25.