Tom Pidcock becomes first ever British man to win an elite cyclocross World Cup round in Rucphen
Pidcock passed the leading riders on the final lap
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) has become the first British man to win an elite cyclocross World Cup event, crossing the line in Rucphen with his arms outstretched after a nail-biting final lap.
The 22-year-old came to the fore towards the end of the fourth lap, with Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout (both Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) joining him.
As the race drew to its conclusion, the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal pair appeared to be pulling away, but Olympic mountain bike champion Pidcock smashed past them on the finishing straight, pushing an evidently unmatchable pace to take a historic win.
Iserbyt scooped up second, leaving Vanthourenhout in third.
The Brit has made huge strides forwards since taking seventh at his opening cyclocross race of the season at the Telenet Superprestige Boom, after which he said: "You feel like a numpty every time you do your first race of the year."
In the women's race, it was Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) who took the win, also opting for a final lap sprint to defeat world champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions).
How the men's race unfolded
Saturday's mixture of sand and mud in Rucphen, Netherlands, saw cyclocross conditions return to the relative norm after a snowy round in Val di Sole - won by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
Van Aert was absent in Rucphen, opting out to attend a team training camp, as was world champion Mathieu van der Poel, as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
It was Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) who took to the fore during the opening laps, adopting a confident position through the bends having won in Rucphen four times previously.
Fifteen riders hit the deck early on, and David Van der Poel (Alpecin - Fenix) took a position towards the front of the race alongside Van Der Haar, whilst Pidcock was forced to pick his way through the field to move up to 10th place.
On the second lap, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal) took his turn at the front and began pushing the pace, creating a splinter group of five riders.
However, their lead was short-lived as 11 riders - Pidcock included - worked to make the catch and swell the front group.
Pidcock responded when Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus Cyclo Cross Team) increased the pace to shrink the group to six, eventually moving to the front and pulling hard out of the bends.
As the race progressed, Iserbyt was able to attack and join Pidcock, taking with him Vanthourenhout, before putting the Olympic mountain bike champ under pressure.
Come the sound of the bell, the pair had a three-second lead, however, Pidcock found a late surge and was able to sprint past his opponents to take the win.
How the women's race unfolded
Eventual winner Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) was at the front of the pack from the opening lap, but series leader Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) was hot on her heels.
Close behind followed Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Fenix) - both of them within the under 23 ranks.
It was Brand who pressed hard on the pedals to distance the chasing pair, with Pieterse losing more time due to a bike change.
Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal) - who now sits in second in the overall standings, was left to chase, nine seconds behind the leaders. However, alongside Annemarie Worst (777), she made it up to the front of the race come the third lap, before attacking and causing Pieterse and Worst to fall back.
On the penultimate lap, Vos made a bid for freedom after a Pieterse slid out, holding up Worst in her wake. Betsema and Brand were able to follow, and a slip up from Vos almost saw Brand sail to the win. However, in the final sprint, it was Vos who was able to unleash a lethal sprint to take the line.
RESULT: UCI CYCLOCROSS WORLD CUP RUCPHEN
1. Tom Pidcock (GBr) in 1:03:26
2. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) at 3s
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) at 8s
4. Quinten Hermans (Bel) at 12s
5. Lars van der Haar (Ned) at 15s
6. Toon Aerts (Bel) at 35s
7. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) at 54s
8. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) at 1-03
9. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) at 1-07
10. Toon Vandebosche (Bel) at 1-09
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) in 54-14
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions
3. Denise Betsema (Ned) at 8s
4. Fem van Empel (Ned) at 17s
5. Puck Pieterse (Ned) at 19s
6. Annemarie Worst (Ned) at 44s
7. Shirin Van Anrooij (Ned) at 1-16
8. Sanne Cant (Bel) at 1-19
9. Eva Lechner (Ita) at 1-38
10. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) at 1-40
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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