Tom Pidcock: ‘I felt like a pretender in the Tour de France GC group’

Ineos Grenadier says Matej Mohorič's emotional post win interview from stage 19 resonated with him

Tom Pidcock crosses the line at the 2023 Tour de France
Tom Pidcock crosses the line at the 2023 Tour de France
(Image credit: Tom de Waele / Getty)

Tom Pidcock has said he’s learned more from this year’s Tour de France, where he fell short of repeating his stage win of 2022, than he did from last year but suffered with imposter syndrome.

The Ineos Grenadier finished the race with a pair of attacking rides on stages 19 and 20 but was unable to bag the win he craved. He started the race with a GC result in mind but after a few bad days in the Alps saw him tumble down the standings he finished 13th, just three places ahead of his position in his maiden Tour de France.

When asked what he made of his 2023 Tour performance Pidcock said that the interview given by yesterday’s stage winner Matej Mohorič had resonated with him.

After taking the win from a sprint of three breakaway riders Mohorič gave an emotional post-race TV interview where he said: “Sometimes you feel like you don’t belong here, because everyone is so incredibly strong that you struggle to hold [the] wheel sometimes.

“Even today, I was thinking the whole day, like, ‘The guy who’s pulling is suffering just as much as you do,’ but it’s just cruel to then be able to follow the decisive attack. When Kasper went, I don’t know, like he was so incredibly strong. He went on the attack yesterday and won the stage. And today to have the will and determination to do it all over again, like you just feel, you just feel that you don’t belong here.”

It struck a chord with Pidcock. “I felt like a pretender in the GC race and yet I was almost a bit afraid to fail, so I almost gave up before I properly failed. I think it’s more in the head than anywhere else. 

“This year I learned. I've come away with nothing but I've come away with everything. I have a much better understanding of what it takes to win and succeed in this race in the GC. I think that is more valuable than winning a stage.”

However, the Yorkshireman said there wasn’t a single moment when his GC bid collapsed but rather the process was “a slow undoing”.

“I think the stage to Morzine, when it went wrong, I dug deep to the finish. It shocked my body a bit, I've been almost three kilos heavier than race weight since then and it’s hard to keep being positive when it’s an uphill battle.”

It’s not clear if he’ll be back to resume that battle soon, but if he is you can be sure he’ll be extremely prepared.

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