Cycling News

Pidcock crashes his way to Crans-Montana World Cup win

Pidcock crashes his way to Crans-Montana World Cup win

It was a chaotic, crash-filled elite men’s race in Crans-Montana on Saturday but Tom Pidcock emerged victorious. And, after two crashes, unscathed. That will have his INEOS teammates breathing a sigh of relief as Pidcock heads directly from Switzerland the Tour de France start.

“I made two or three mistakes, so I reminded myself to concentrate,” says Pidcock of his early crashes, adding “There are some big things coming up and I don’t think my team or my teammates would be too happy if I binned myself today.”

Pidcock has indeed faced questions about why he opted to race the Swiss World Cup just a week ahead of the Tour de France (which also ends one week before he attempts to defend his Olympic gold medal in mountain biking in Paris). Those surely got louder once the wildly technical Crans-Montana course was revealed. But Pidcock has faced similar questions in the past and, just like in the past, silenced his doubters again on Sunday.

Crans-Montana World Cup XCO: Crowds, mud and chaos

Off the line in Crans-Montana, it was Germany’s Julian Schelb (Stop&Go) taking the holeshot. Schelb was the surprise second-place finisher in Saturday’s short track and looked keen to capitalize on his front row start in Sunday’s XCO.

Schelb also looked the most comfortable in the thick Swiss mud, rubbing elbows and looking confident holding his line against the British world champion.

Pidcock eventually got through the early traffic and in front of Schelb to take the lead, only to crash on a muddy corner in the tech/feed zone. That forced the INEOS rider back onto the chase, but now with Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) glued to his wheel.

Pidcock worked his way back past Schelb and, then, Schurter on a series of punchy, muddy climbs. Mathias Flückiger also joined the front group.

There’s a lot of running on course for a mountain bike race, making interesting group riding.

Pidcock finally started to earn an advantage going out onto lap three. Flückiger proved to be the only rider with the legs, and finesse in the mud, to chase.

Schurter struggles in Swiss mud

Schurter, in a rare showing of technical weakness, appeared to be struggling most with the conditions. The star Swiss rider was caught out on a steep, muddy rut and went over the barriers. Thankfully, outside the tape was just as soft and squishy as the muddy course and Schurter was back on his bike quickly. But he looked shaken, having another near-crash on the instantly infamous log…

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