Tom Pidcock was not surprised that Tadej Pogačar failed to make the winning move at Dwars door Vlaanderen, saying that the two-time Tour de France champion isn't yet in tune with how Cobbled Classics are raced.
Ineos Grenadiers' Pidcock finished third in the Belgian race that was won by Mathieu van der Poel following a terrific final 10km that was characterised by a multitude of attacks.
Van der Poel and Pidcock helped form a six-man chasing group 65km before the finish that eventually swelled to become an eight-man leading group, with Pogačar missing the crucial attack.
The UAE Team Emirates rider - who will ride Sunday's Tour of Flanders for the very first time - tried to bridge across on three separate occasions, but had to settle for 10th.
Speaking after recording his best road result of the season, cyclocross world champion Pidcock said that he wasn't shocked that Pogačar was not at the head of proceedings.
"Seeing how he was riding, he doesn't fully understand where the key points are yet," Pidcock said.
"That's completely understandable as he hasn't raced these races yet. It's like there might be a key climb, but you don't need to be in position five kilometres before.
"Once he gets the grasp of that, there's no reason why he won't be in the front group."
Put to him that that may be a factor in Sunday's race, Pidcock agreed, adding that he and team-mate Ben Turner worked well tactically to be part of the chasing group on Wednesday.
"It's one of the most important things," he added. "We were first into the climb, and we were both in the front group, and we took the race on. That's just as important as your legs, really."
Pidcock was active in the final 10 kilometres of the race and briefly built a leading gap before Van der Poel and Tiesj Benoot both counterattacked and stayed away.
Third was the Yorkshireman's best result of his road season, and the world cyclocross champion expressed his satisfaction with his performance.
"It was a good race; I'm happy with that," he said. "It was pretty full gas, we took the race on and we planned to do that. It's just good that my legs were there.
"At the end the two strongest guys got away. It was just that one time that I went, and then it was the next time when the elastic snapped. It's unfortunate in that respect, but I can be happy."
Pidcock had struggled recently with a mystery stomach problem, but confirmed that he now feels healthy ahead of the Tour of Flanders - a race in which he expects everyone to be looking at Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
"I think Sunday will be like today, but 100km longer," Pidcock said of Flanders. "It's a different kettle of fish when you have to do an extra 100km."
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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