Tom Pidcock says he has set himself the challenge of “pushing himself against the elites,” as he headlines the British squad at the European cyclocross championships.
The Brit, who stepped up from the under-23 level this season, is the only home rider contesting the elite Euros in Silvelle Italy on Saturday and Sunday (November 9-10) as Britain isn’t fielding a rider in the elite women’s race.
Instead, British Cycling will focus on the women’s U23 race, where Anna Kay will star after her third place finish in the Bern World Cup round last month.
Pidcock, the reigning elite British champion and under-23 world champion, has been fighting at the front of elite races this season resulting in a number of podium places, but he is yet to find victory at the highest level.
The 20-year-old said: “Last season was brilliant for me, winning both the under-23 European and world titles, so this season I set myself the challenge to really push myself by riding against the elites.
“It’s certainly a step up, but I’m pleased with how my training and racing has been going and I’m really excited to have the support of a great team in Trinity Racing.
“The hard work by all has given me the extra incentive to perform.”
Pidcock is racing as part of a rebranded team this cyclocross season, now riding under the Trinity Racing banner, formerly TP racing.
The team change also coincided with Pidcock’s focus on elite level racing in Europe, where he has so far claimed four podium spots from his eight races.
Cyclocross co-ordinator for the Great Britain Cycling Team, Matt Ellis, said: “The team we are taking to the European championships this year is hugely competitive and we can expect to see them all challenging for the podium in their respective races.
“Anna Kay comes to the European championships carrying good form having finished in third place in the elite women’s race at the Bern round of the World Cup series, so she should put in a strong performance in the under-23 field.
“It’s great to see Tom stepping up into the elite men’s category. He was physically very strong coming into the season, thanks to a successful season on the road where he won bronze in the World Championships among other achievements, and technically he’s improving race by race.
“He’s already showing he’s in the mix for a medal at this level, and I’m really looking forward to seeing him get stuck in at the European championships.”
Kay will be joined by Hattie Harnden and Katie Scott in the U23 women’s race, while Cameron Mason, Thomas Mein, Ben Turner and Ben Tulett will fight it out in the men’s U23 event.
This year marks a milestone in the women’s category as a junior race is introduced for the first time, with Millie Couzans, Anna Flynn and Josie Nelson all flying the flag.
Ellis added: “For the junior women in particular, this race is a big deal for them as it’s the first year they have their own separate category, so they are all excited for the race.
“In the junior men’s category, all four riders have done well on the domestic scene so far this season, so it’ll be good to see where they are at against international competition when they race in Italy.”
In the junior men’s event, Corran Carrick-Anderson, Rory McGuire, Oli Stockwell and Simon Wyllie will represent GB.
Great Britain Cycling Team for UEC Cyclocross European Championships