Tom Pidcock, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel in first three-way showdown on Sunday

British rider to go up against his road rivals for the first time this cyclo-cross season at Antwerp round of the World Cup this weekend

Tom Pidcock Hulst
Pidcock in action in Hulst, the Netherlands last weekend
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Pidcock will face his road rivals Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel for the first time this cyclo-cross season in the Antwerp round of the World Cup on Sunday. 

It will mark the first time the trio of road heavyweights will go up against one another this cyclo-cross season, and it will be Van Aert’s first outing on the mud this winter. 

Last weekend, Pidcock landed his first ever win in his cyclo-cross world champion’s rainbow jersey which he won in Fayetteville, USA in January. The British rider won the X20 Trofee Kortrijk - Urban Cross in Belgium on Saturday, before a broken wheel forced him to abandon Sunday’s round of the world cup in Hulst, the Netherlands.

In what was his first race of the cross’ season, Mathieu van der Poel put in a barnstorming performance to land his first win of his winter campaign, and to show that he’s certainly in form ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Van Aert and Pidcock

In a recent interview with the news outlet In De Leiderstrui, Pidcock said that he’s automatically at a disadvantage compared to his rivals in cyclo-cross due to his lighter natural physiology. 

“I don’t have the weight and the same power as Mathieu and Wout,” Pidcock said. “It’s hard to beat them in races like this.” 

“Nevertheless I will keep trying and the rainbow jersey will help a bit," he added.

The British star rider explained that currently, he’s close to his ideal Tour de France weight as he builds towards his targets on the road in 2023. 

His analysis was backed up by his coach Kurt Bogaerts who said that with Van Aert and Van der Poel both being closer to 80kg, they had the upper hand when it comes to cross races in the Belgian mud. 

"If it weren't for them, Tom would have won a lot more. He is often on the podium with them now, but it is difficult for Tom to beat them," Bogaerts said.

"They have more absolute power, which comes in handy in the mud and in the sand. Tom is a lightweight, he is currently not far from his Tour weight at 58 kilograms."

Regardless of who has the advantage, Sunday's showdown between the trio will make for quite the spectacle. 

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