Tom Pidcock anticipated Van der Poel's crash as Brit's Olympic celebration limited to eating all the cake at the buffet

The Brit says his Dutch rival was almost falling before he even went over the top of the downhill section

Tom Pidcock
(Image credit: Getty)

"Nothing," Tom Pidcock says of what he has planned to celebrate his Tokyo Olympics gold medal under the stern coronavirus restrictions in Japan.

"I ate all the cake at the buffet, that was my celebration."

It's 11pm in Tokyo and Pidcock is just finishing off his final duties before a well-earned rest. With medal ceremonies and media duties, he's only had the chance to call his girlfriend and parents, but with no party to attend this is where his day ends after the biggest moment of his career so far.

"I think the Olympics transcends cycling or any sport," Pidcock told a small group of media including Cycling Weekly. "It's big, it's like the whole world...everyone feels invested in it. There's national pride and everyone in the country is behind any athlete of any sport from that country just for the Olympics, and I think that's what makes it more special, that it's kind of bigger than the sport I do itself."

As he came into the finish he was handed a Union Jack, not a pre-planned celebration, but just the quick thinking from his coach, Simon Watts.

Tom Pidcock

(Image credit: Getty)

"No no no, that was Simon, the national coach, he just passed the flag up and I just took it, there was not a plan," Pidcock explained. "I wasn't thinking about a celebration but it was good timing just as I got over the hill and then I had to start thinking about it. He decided for me."

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Pidcock was behind Mathieu van der Poel when the Dutchman had his freak crash in the opening stages of the race, saying he knew Van der Poel was going to fall but that the exact reasoning for the crash still seems bizarre, that he was almost falling before he even went over the top.

"[I was] behind him, I anticipated that he was going to crash," Pidcock said. "It was weird. I mean, he went into the drop really slowly. He almost just kind of didn't even...he just kind of fell off before he even went over it and it was really odd. 

"It's not nice to see and I spoke to him and he said he's alright. So it's good to hear. But it's a bit strange. I think in practice we had a boardwalk there that he could ride off and I guess he didn't know that it wasn't there. But then some people say he did know and I don't know. So yeah, but I'm just kind of glad that I managed to avoid it."

Tomorrow, Pidcock will go out for a long ride on the road, as he prepares for the Vuelta a España, his debut Grand Tour, next month, and with the days before the start in Bilbao already ticking down. Just as he caps off another huge moment in his bright career in Japan, another one will soon begin on the other side of the world.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.