Tom Pidcock is set to start in just 10 cyclo-cross races this winter, with the former world champion beginning his season on 16 December at the X2O Trofee Herentals.
The 24-year-old will ride six UCI World Cup events during his campaign, which takes place over December and January but will skip the World Championships in Tábor in February.
The ten events where Pidcock will race are:
- X2O Trofee Herentals, 16 December
- UCI World Cup Namur, 17 December
- UCI World Cup Antwerpen, 23 December
- UCI World Cup Gavere, 26 December
- Superprestige Diegem, 28 December
- UCI World Cup Hulst, 30 December
- X2O Trofee Koksijde - Vlaamse Duinencross, 4 January
- Hexia Cyclocross Gullegem, 6 January
- UCI World Cup Zonhoven, 7 January
- UCI World Cup Benidorm, 21 January
It means that it is only at the Antwerp, Gavere, and Hulst World Cups, and the X2O Trofee at Koksijde, where the 'big three' of Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Pidcock, will race. It had already been established that van der Poel, the world champion, would ride 15 races this season, while van Aert is down to ride just six at present.
Pidcock and van der Poel are also set to clash at Zonhoven and Benidorm and January.
Last season, Pidcock won two races, the X2O Trofee Kortrijk, and the Superprestige Boom, as he took part in 14 events. In the races he didn't win, he often finished behind the other two members of the 'big three'.
It had already been reported that Pidcock was set to skip the World Championships, an event he won in 2022, as is van Aert. It is thought this is in order to fine tune preparation for the Spring Classics and the road season.
“He contests a number of races during the busy end-of-year period. And then it doesn't last very long after that. A bit similar to last season. The World Championships? No, I don't think so," his coach, Kurt Bogaerts said previously.
In Pidcock and van Aert’s absence, Mathieu van der Poel will be the outright favourite to retain the World title that he won in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands in February.
Earlier in November, UCI President David Lappartient brought up the idea of banning cyclo-cross riders who skip UCI World Cup races from participating in the World Championships, after Thibau Nys chose not to ride at Dendermonde, the third World Cup round, on Sunday. Nys rode a Superprestige race on Saturday.
"If a rider prefers to ride a national event during World Cup rounds, you won't ride the following World Cup rounds and therefore you won't ride the World Championships," Lappartient told DirectVelo. "The World Cup is not a competition in which you can pick and choose as you please. Every rider has to play the game."
None of the past three world champions - Van der Poel, Van Aert, or Pidcock, have yet raced a World Cup this season. However, if they aren't riding the World Championships anyway, Lappartient's threat is empty.
CX season is here! 🙌Check out @tompidcock's 2023-24 winter racing schedule, including six #CXWorldCup events.It all kicks off on December 16 🗓️🔜 pic.twitter.com/6GxGobJaklNovember 29, 2023
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