Tom Pidcock derailed by catalog of World Cup disasters in thrilling near-miss: ‘I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated’
Cyclocross world champion navigates gear problems, a cobblestone crash, and a broken shoe in ride to second-place Sunday.
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What didn’t go wrong for Tom Pidcock at World Cup Overijse?
The rainbow jersey-clad ‘cross champion had to contend with mechanical, footwear, and piloting problems during the course of his scintillating muddy scrap with Michael Vanthourenhout on Sunday.
“I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated,” Pidcock said with a shrug after he came off second-best in the UCI race.
Pidcock’s race looked like it was over before it even got started Sunday. The 23-year-old emerged from the start-grid dead-last and faced packed traffic on a gnarly, narrow Belgian course.
“My gears were jammed. I don’t know why, it’s a bit strange,” he said of his slow start. “I had to get my chain out, then I looked up. We’d done five seconds of racing and I’m already last, so I was thinking ‘ah … this is gonna be a hard day.'”
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Pidcock put what he claimed was just two hours of off-season cyclocross practice to good use through the opening laps in Overijse.
The Brit battled to the front of the field while struggling with a loose shoe and set up his thrilling back-and-forth face-off with Vanthourenhout in the conclusion of the ‘cross.
Just when Pidcock looked to be blasting clear from his Belgian rival, a descending transition onto damp cobblestones curtailed his chance at a first victory in the rainbow jersey.
“I came off the dirt onto cobbles, my wheel slipped, and I fell on the cobbles. I think I’m going to be pretty sore in the morning,” Pidcock said.
“My shoe also broke, so I was struggling with running. It was coming off every time I stood in the mud,” he added. “It was a difficult two laps but I thought, ‘I can’t give up, I’ve got to try and get a win in this jersey.'”
Crash by Pidcock in the penultimate lap. 😲 Vanthourenhout gets a gifted lead of 8️⃣ seconds. Can the World Champion catch the European Champion in the final lap? 🤔 #CXWorldCup pic.twitter.com/K5yqsapAr6
— UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup (@UCIcyclocrossWC) November 20, 2022
Vanthourenhout didn’t take his foot from the accelerator once he got the gap. The ‘cross specialist squeezed a three-second victory over Pidcock in what was the world champ’s second race of the season.
“I can be pleased,” Pidcock said. “After Saturday I’m much more used to race pace and technical parts. I can be pleased, but it would have been nice to get my hands in the air.”
Pidcock rated himself eight out of 10 after Sunday’s race.
Startlists are not yet confirmed, but a kudos-bringing clash with Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel could arrive in Hulst next weekend – Pidcock will want to have gained two rating points by then.