Tom Pidcock has decided on 12 cyclocross races over the next two months as he looks to ride himself into form ahead of his bid for the rainbow bands in Fayetteville at the end of January.
The 22-year-old will make his return to cyclocross on December 4 in Belgium at the Telenet Superprestige Boom, a race he will go into with zero preparation according to coach Kurt Bogaerts, and then look to ride himself into form after a long break following his debut WorldTour road season with Ineos Grenadiers.
"We keep racing because it's good for him," Bogaerts told Het Laatste Nieuws of the design behind Pidcock's schedule. "But it's not possible to be [at the] top [level] all the time. The road season is becoming increasingly important. If there is also a Grand Tour in it, he commits robbery on his body with specific preparation for cyclocross [in the preceding autumn months].”
The Antwerp World Cup round follows on December 5, followed by three further World Cup meets in the next fortnight at Val di Sole, Rucphen and Namur.
Then comes the Christmas trio of Dendermonde on Boxing Day followed by Heusen-Zolder and Diegem. Pidcock opens the new year with races at X20 Trophy Baal and his penultimate World Cup round at Hulst before a training camp in Calpe before the X20 Trophy Hamme on January 22 and the Hoogerheide World Cup race the following day. Then, a week later, he will battle for the rainbow jersey at the Cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville, United States.
"Fayetteville is a course with opportunities for Tom, we saw that at the World Cup race," Bogaerts continued. “If he makes the crossing to the United States, it's not just to participate. His ultimate goal is to become world champion in three disciplines.”
In nearly every race Pidcock will face up against at least one of Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, the gold and silver medalists from the 2021 Worlds in Oostende and Pidcock's greatest rivals for the 2022 title.
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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.