Yorkshire teenager Tom Pidcock continued his impressive rise as one of Britain’s brightest stars of the future, by becoming the third British rider to win Junior Paris-Roubaix on Sunday with a solo attack on the cobbles.
The 17-year-old has been combining cyclo-cross and road racing the last couple of years, and has had a remarkable set of results the past 12 months. He is the reigning national, European and world junior cyclo-cross champion, while on the road last year he won two stages of the Junior Tour of Wales and the Phillippe Gilbert Road Race – a mini version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The style and quality of his victories across a range of disciplines — as well as his victory celebrations — has caught the eye of many, with the Belgian press referring to him as ‘mini Sagan’ earlier this year.
Junior Paris-Roubaix was one of Pidcock’s main targets this spring, and he crossed the line inside the Roubaix Velodrome solo. The 111-kilometre race included 16 sectors of pavè, with Pidcock one of six riders on British Cycling’s Junior Academy racing for Great Britain.
He bridged across to a lead group just before the 2.1km long Carrefour de l’Arbe sector, 16km from the finish, before attacking and passing them altogether before reaching the end of the cobbles and riding alone to the finish.
“I was expecting to just drag everyone along but then I looked to the end and I had a gap and I thought that’s bloody it isn’t it, I’ve got to go,” Pidcock explained before stepping on the podium to receive his cobble trophy.
“It was a headwind for some of it and I was crawling, especially on that last proper sector — sector two — I was crawling along, trying to get on every smooth bit I could.”
Pidcock led a British one-two-three at the Cyclo-Cross World Championships in January and has said he wants to continue racing both cross and road for the time being, before deciding where his future lies. The only other two British winners of Junior Roubaix are Geraint Thomas in 2004 and Andy Fenn in 2008.
“It was a big goal and then after the Worlds my motivation went and I wasn’t really training very hard. Obviously I wanted to win but it wasn’t a massive goal. Then to just achieve that as well as winning the Worlds and all my other goals it’s ridiculous.
“It’s a special race isn’t it? To win the junior race it shows that you might be pretty good in your future career, it’s pretty special.”