Tom Pidcock: pressure of World Championships seems 'relatively tranquil' compared to Olympics

British star heads to the cyclocross World Championships as one of the outstanding favourites

Tom Pidcock
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ahead of the cyclocross World Championships, Tom Pidcock has said that the pressure is "relatively tranquil" compared to the Olympics.

The Briton heads to Arkansas as one of the favourites for the elite men's race on Sunday, and will be hoping to add the rainbow bands to the junior and under-23 versions he has already won.

Last summer, Pidcock won gold in the cross-country mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympics as part of a breakout year across road, mountain biking and cyclocross.

“I've never, ever felt pressure like the Olympics," the 22-year old explained to Cycling Weekly. "That was pretty insane, the amount of pressure and stress that an Olympic games brings… So the Worlds isn't going to be - it can't be - anything like that. Now I think everything else is relatively tranquil compared to the Olympics.”

However, the Ineos Grenadiers rider is up there with this year's cyclocross World Cup winner Eli Iserbyt as favourite to take the world title in Fayetteville on Sunday.

His odds have been shortened due to the lack of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel through programme-choice and injury, respectively. The pair have won the last seven World Championships between them.

Their absence might be the reason why, according to Pidcock, this time it feels "different".

"I think this race feels different for some reason... I don't know why, maybe it's because Wout and Mathieu are not there. Every every time you go to a major event, it's similar, but at the same time, there's always differences. 

"Your preparation is always a bit different. Shape is always a bit different. The results you want in the build-up are always a bit different. It's always a new experience."

Pidcock has won two World Cup events this season, and finished on the podium three times, including third at Hoogerheide last weekend, where he finished behind Iserbyt and Lars van der Haard.

However, he did not seem to mind particularly that he missed out on that occasion: “At the end of the day there’s only one race that matters [the Worlds]. I’m a bit disappointed about today but I’m not down about it,” he commented after that race. 

Last weekend, Pidcock suggested that he did not really know much about the course in Fayetteville, but that one determining factor may be the number of Belgians riding in support of Iserbyt.

"I haven't really watched the Worlds course," Pidcock said. "I didn't watch the World Cup, I haven't really had that much of a look, but I know there's a longer climb in it and so I think it'd be a bit similar to today honestly, maybe a bit less quick, more up and down. 

"The Belgians are gonna have numbers and that's going to be a big thing." 

They might do, but are they feeling "relatively tranquil", we wonder?

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