The Ineos Grenadiers star hung on for third, but said he had no answer when Pogačar attacked with 28km to go solo to the line.
“When he goes, he goes hard,” Pidcock said of Pogačar. “Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it.
“I had absolutely nothing left there in the end,” Pidcock said. “It was a long final 10km. Tadej attacked, then he sat down, and he went faster.”
Pidcock tried to hang on to Pogačar’s ferocious acceleration, but the elastic snapped. Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) later gapped him to finish second, and Pidcock had to dig deep to fend off a pair of chasers to hit third.
Along with second in 2021, third gives him podiums in two of the three editions of Amstel Gold Race he’s started.
It’s a gutsy ride from @tompidcock to dig deep and secure third place overall at Amstel Gold.
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) April 16, 2023
The podium is also a sign that the worst is behind him in regards to a concussion he suffered in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico that later sidelined him during Milan-San Remo.
Returns to racing at Dwars door Vlaanderen with 11th and 52nd at Tour of Flanders were not as he had hoped, but Sunday’s podium is both a salve and a reason for optimism going into the Ardennes.
“I was feeling good, but in the end Tadej was just stronger than me,” Pidcock said. “I was missing a bit with the distance. That’s something I need to work on.”
Pidcock’s comment suggests he might need to work on his depth for the longer, six-hour races that constitute the monuments and the more prestigious one-day classics.
His biggest wins at Strade Bianche in March, raced at 184km, and Brabantse Pijl in 2021 at 201.7km came on slightly shorter courses. Of course, he can go the distance at Amstel, proving that by finishing second to Wout van Aert in 2021. That year’s distance was 218.6km, compared to this year was 253.6km.
Pidcock sounded confident, however, heading into the Ardennes double at La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he will have to fend off not only the returning Pogačar but also defending champ Remco Evenepoel.
“This is my first race after a training block, and I always go better after my first race, so I am looking forward to the next races,” Pidcock said. “At least I could finish on the podium.”