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Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) hit the front in the opening laps and didn’t look back at the X20 Trofee Kortrijk on Saturday.
The reigning world champion dominated Saturday’s “urban cross” with a solo victory that opened his rainbow jersey account in style.
Behind Pidcock, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) were left dueling for second place all through the race.
Van der Haar opted for a bike change in the final lap and Iserbyt took a slim advantage, only for an error from the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal ‘crosser to bring the two back together.
The two proved inseparable through the remainder of the final lap, leaving the podium places to be decided by a sprint. Iserbyt led it out on the grinding uphill finish only for Van der Haar to kick past and secure second place.
“It was hard, it was super fast. I got a bit of a gap but I couldn’t extend it,” Pidcock said afterward.
“I tried to stay focussed and keep my pace. I knew if those two [Iserbyt and Van der Haar] got together they’d be thinking for the series overall. So when they did get together I got a bit more of a gap.”
The Kortrijk ‘cross saw Pidcock win in his third race of the season after progressing from seventh on debut to second at the World Cup Overijse last weekend.
“Every day I get to race in this jersey is enjoyable, it’s a nice experience,” he said. “All the fans support me and they’re really nice in Belgium, so I’m trying to learn a bit of Flemish as well. I’m going to enjoy this winter I think.”
Urban Cross Kortrijk – elite mannen
— X²O Badkamers Trofee (@X2OTrofee) November 26, 2022
Saturday’s downtown ‘cross suited Pidcock’s high-power, attacking style with its fast, mostly-flat circuit.
The Brit surged away in lap two and secured a 10-second gap that swung by only a few seconds either way through the final three-quarters of the race.
Pidcock didn’t ease off the accelerator through to the very final lap and looked to have hit a groove after struggling with mistakes in the first two races of his season.
His victory completed a rainbow double after women’s world champion Marianne Vos won for the first time this season in her race only an hour before.
Pidcock will be back in action at World Cup Hulst on Sunday – and so will four-time world champion Mathieu van der Poel, who makes his debut for the winter.
“For sure we can expect a good Mathieu. We shouldn’t expect anything less,” Pidcock warned.
Results powered by FirstCycling.com