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Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) will not target the overall at the Volta ao Algarve this week as he eases himself back into road racing after a stellar cyclocross campaign.
The Olympic mountain bike champion and new world cyclocross champion hasn’t raced on the road since last year. He took a break after his rainbow jersey triumph in Fayetteville and has been building up his road miles in recent weeks. He believes that his condition and form are moving in the right direction but that a title tilt at the Volta ao Algarve could come too soon.
“I’m good. I had a short break and had some good training this week in Algarve so I’m looking forward to racing,” he told VeloNews and other journalists at the start of stage 1.
“I think that I’m in good shape and on stage 2, we’ll see where I am. It’s about finding the road legs now.”
Dani Martínez will instead lead Ineos Grenadiers in the race. The British team arrives at the race with a strong squad that also includes Geraint Thomas and last years’ Algarve runner-up Ethan Hayter. For Pidcock, it’s a case of feeling is way back into road racing. There are still two stages that could see him animate the race, but it’s too soon to predict whether he will feature in either of the summit finishes.
“There’s no pressure yet. It’s the first race of the season. I’m young and there’s no pressure yet to win races. It’s the start of a long season and I want to start in a good way. I’m not here for GC, and I’ve not done any time trial preparation. It doesn’t make sense to push in the time trial, so I think stage 2 and 5 I’ll test myself. Dani is our GC leader and I’ve got a bit of a free role. I’m just going to see where I am. I did some decent training, but I also had a break. So, it will be interesting to see where my level is.”
With that in mind, Pidcock has confirmed that he will target Strade Bianche this year. He finished fifth in the race last year and the dirt roads and punchy climbs are well suited to his riding style.
“My first goal of the season is Strade Bianche. I’ll ride both races at ‘opening weekend’.”