Tom Pidcock says he rode ‘surprisingly well’ to finish second as Mathieu van der Poel returns to winning ways

There was plenty of drama at Druivencross as Van der Poel returned a day after his winning streak was broken

(Image credit: BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Tom Pidcock surprised himself with a storming performance that carried him to second behind Mathieu van der Poel in the Druivencross last weekend.

There was everything to play for in Overijse, Belgium on Sunday (December 15) after Mathieu van der Poel’s remarkable winning streak was ended during the previous day’s racing in the Hotondcross.

But as Van der Poel returned to his familiar position at the front of the race in the Druivencross, it was British cyclocross champion Tom Pidcock who emerged as the best of the rest.

Speaking after his hugely impressive second place finish, the 20-year-old told Belgian cyclocross website Wielerkrant (opens in new tab): “I rode surprisingly well. My legs were really good.

“It is the first time I’ve made it to the podium in a competition where all the top riders were also at the start. That’s positive.”

Pidcock has been focussing his attention on racing in the senior ranks this cyclocross season, having dominated the junior and under-23 ranks.

While he has been fighting had and taking multiple podiums, Pidcock has yet to break through with a victory.

However, Sunday’s race in Overijse may have been a turning point for the Yorkshireman, as he battled hard against rivals Toon Aerts and Quinten Hermans to take second behind Van der Poel.

On Saturday, Van der Poel was beaten in a cyclocross race for the first time in 408 days, as Belgian Aerts took the victory at the Hotondcross in Ronse, Belgium.

The last defeat Van der Poel suffered in a cyclocross race was back in 2018, at the Koppenbergcross, and in between these two defeats the young Dutchman has announced himself on the road with a series of impressive victories.

But he returned the following day with an emphatic statement, taking victory by 14 seconds over Pidcock.

After his victory, Van der Poel said: “It was much better today than yesterday.

“Yesterday it was more running and walking. It was difficult to get into the rhythm.

“I am especially happy to be on the top step of the podium again today.”

>>> Watch: Massive crash on final day of Brisbane Track Cycling World Cup 

The Druivencross race was temporarily interrupted by an unlikely competitor, when a puppy jumped onto the course and set off in pursuit of the leaders.

As riders, including cyclocross world champion Mathieu van der Poel, cross the finish line to start another lap, a dog enthusiastically chases after them, with its lead still attached and its owner nowhere to be seen.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.