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Tom Pidcock overcame an early crash to romp to solo victory at the European cross country mountain bike championships Friday.
Pidcock (Great Britain) crossed the line 10 seconds ahead of nearest chasers Sebastian Carstensen (Denmark) and Filippo Colombo (Switzerland) after riding a long lonely time trial through the back-half of the race around the Munich Olympiapark. Top challenger Mathias Flückiger was not racing after a doping violation.
The European championship marks a key stepping stone for Pidcock in his mission to win the MTB rainbow jersey at Les Gets next weekend.
“It’s certainly a good indication of my form,” Pidcock said as he previewed next weekend’s race for rainbows.
“Maybe I went a bit early, it’s hard out front on your own. But my intention was to make it hard for myself, because next week is the big goal, so it was a good day I think.”
Pidcock bounced back from a crash in the first corner and worked his way back through the pack Friday.
The Ineos Grenadier drew out Victory Koretzky in the middle of the race before dropping the Frenchman to start his long solo toward the title.
The European title adds to a brimming multi-disciplinary palmarès that includes Olympic MTB gold, a cyclocross world title, and a stage victory at the recent Tour de France.
Pidcock hadn’t raced in any discipline since a debut Tour de France that landed him a top-20 finish and breakaway victory atop Alpe d’Huez before he charged out of the start gate Friday.
“It wasn’t easy after the Tour. I had a week of downtime and just riding my bike then I had a couple of weeks at altitude. It’s been weird. Sensations I never felt before, feeling jaded and tired,” he said. “But I got some good training in and came down from altitude and felt a lot more myself.”
Raise your hand if you just dominated the men’s cross country 🙋♂️
— Team GB (@TeamGB) August 19, 2022
Next weekend’s world championships in Les Gets won’t mark the end of a season that Pidcock started at the Volta ao Algarve in February.
The 23-year-old will form a central part of Great Britain’s push at a road world title in Wollongong, Australia, mid-September.
“Switching back to road again, it’s not so bad,” he said. “I got a good base in the Tour, now a bit of high intensity, then back on the road. Who knows. It’s going to be a long season but I’m going to try my best to be in top shape next week and in a month and a half’s time [at road worlds].