Tom Pidcock says his bronze medal in the under-23 men’s road race at the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships changes very little about the day for him, after he was upgraded from fourth to third following the disqualification of winner Nils Eekhoff.
Eekhoff (Netherlands), who won the final sprint into Harrogate ahead of Samuele Battistella (Italy) and Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland), was disqualified for taking a tow from the team car following a crash during the race.
Pidcock was therefore awarded the bronze in front of his Yorkshire home crowd, but he says it was not the way he wanted to take a medal after he faded in his sprint on the finishing straight in Harrogate.
“It’s not how I’d like to win a medal to be honest,” Pidcock told the press after the race.
“I guess they’re the rules and unfortunately for Eekhoff I guess he did something wrong. It’s nice to come a way with something but it’s not how I would have wanted to do it.”
The 20-year-old has not raced since crashing out of the Tour de L’Avenir last month, suffering nasty injuries and heading into the Yorkshire 2019 Worlds without his ideal preparation, and with a persisting knee complaint.
Despite the injuries, Pidcock was one of the stand-out figures in the race, making the final selection of seven rides that hit the final rise to the line together.
But the Leeds racer faded in the final 50m after an attritional four hours in the saddle.
Nils Eekhoff crossed the line first, but it soon emerged that the result was under investigation as the race jury reviewed whether he had drafted behind a team car to get back into the peloton after a crash earlier in the race.
The jury ruled against Eekhoff, who left the circuit in tears, which handed Battistella the rainbow jersey and bumped Pidcock into the bronze medal spot.
Speaking after immediately after the race, a teary and devastated Pidcock said: “I wasn’t in the best shape in the world, but I gave it my best shot. Until 50 metres to go, I was going to win the World Championships.”
At the post-race press conference, when he had been confirmed as the bronze medal finisher, he said: “[The tow] could have affected everything to be honest. The guys behind wouldn’t have come across without him I don’t think, it did affect the race. It’s a shame for him.
“The bronze medal just gave me more time to enjoy the crowds and the podium but I’m still disappointed. I mean there’s only one place that matters in the World Championships isn’t there?
“At least now I have a souvenir, but I would have liked the jersey.”