Tom Pidcock signed his mountain bike season off with a first win in the rainbow jersey at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, on Sunday.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider won the Cross-Country Olympic race (XCO) in front of Mathias Flückiger (Thömus Maxon) and Marcel Guerrini (Bixs Performance), his second World Cup XCO win of the season, and his first since he won the World Championships in Glasgow in August.
Meanwhile, Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) secured his ninth overall XCO World Cup title with 14th place. The six laps of the Québécois course were affected by wet weather, which meant riders were even more reliant than usual on their bike handling skills; multiple mechanical issues also dominated the race.
“I tried to make as little mistakes as possible but also conserve the bike because Mathias was flying down the descents like a mad man, but he also punctured twice,” Pidcock said post-race.
Flückiger was initially in the lead, but Pidcock battled past and in the end had a 26-second gap on the Swiss rider; Guerrini was a further minute back.
“I was pretty motivated to win in this jersey before the end of the year," Pidcock said. "But this week was difficult, it has been a long season. I was tired, it was a bit of a struggle.”
The 24-year-old's cyclo-cross season ended in January, before he switched to the road at the Volta ao Algarve in February; in between road races from Strade Bianche to the Tour de France, he has also raced at eight different MTB events from April to October. It's not known when his cyclo-cross season will restart, but he was clear that this was the end of his 2023 for now.
“That’s it, I’m going on holiday now. Normally on the last lap I’d go full gas, but today I couldn’t be arsed," Pidcock said.
"I was pretty motivated to win in this jersey," he continued. "This week was difficult. It’s been a long season, I was tired and this was a bit of a struggle. I was feeling it, but you just have to keep a solid head.
"We’ve had quite a few battles to be honest. The Olympics [Fluckiger] was chasing me down for an hour. Here he kept me under pressure. I made a few mistakes – I kind of let him lead, I didn’t want to fight him in the descents. I didn’t mind that he was in front. But then when he made a mistake I fell off a rock. That’s when he got the gap with two laps to go."
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1