Tom Pidcock won his second mountain bike World Cup race in successive weeks in Nové Město, Czech Republic, on Sunday, beating Trek Factory rider Vlad Dascalu during the final sprint.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider dominated in Albstadt, Germany, last weekend, and even had time to entertain the crowd by wheelieing across the finish line. This time around, though, Pidcock faced more of a challenge from Dascalu, meaning he didn't have an opportunity to produce yet another flamboyant celebration.
Admitting he struggled around the Nové Město course, characterised by gruelling long climbs and a 2.7km start lap followed by seven laps of the full 3.9km circuit, Pidcock almost seemed relieved to win the event.
"That was a difficult race," Pidcock said afterwards. "To be honest I felt crap all race. I just couldn't push, and I had only one pace. I couldn't go hard enough to split it, but the pace we were going was quite comfortable, it was weird.
"I knew Vlad would have a super fast last lap and I was having problems with my bike - it just wasn't playing out right. But I knew that if I could just hold the gap to Vlad, then with the headwind at the finish I'd be able to come past him."
With four riders leading the race on the final lap, Dascalu decided to launch multiple attacks. His first was quelled by Pidcock, Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) and Mathias Flückiger (Thomus Maxon), but his second, on the main climb, was only followed by the Briton.
Both Pidcock and Dascalu matched each other's pace heading into the final straight, where Pidcock eventually showed his superiority by comfortably sprinting to the race win. Meanwhile, mountain bike world champion Nino Schurter managed to finish third, despite dropping to 17th in the fifth lap of the race after suffering a flat tire.
While the 22-year-old suggested mechanical problems contributed to him not feeling as powerful as he would have liked, Pidcock failed to detail any specific reason during the post-race interview.
“It just wasn’t working like it’s supposed to,” he said.
This is the second time the mountain bike Olympic champion has won at Nové Město, having beaten Mathieu van der Poel in last year's race to pick up the first elite mountain bike race victory of his career.
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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