Tom Pidcock went up the Bosberg faster than ever before in his career during his recon of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Thursday. This is a fact that might instil some excitement in fans of the British talent, but perhaps some fear in those who will race against him on Saturday in the first race of Opening Weekend.
The 23-year-old’s preparation for this road season has been a little different to years previous. Despite being the defending cyclocross world champion, Pidcock opted not to start at the World Championships in Hoogerheide a few weeks ago, instead ending his cyclocross campaign on January 22 at the UCI World Cup in Benidorm. Some were surprised at this decision – Pidcock had a chance of being up there with Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, fighting for the rainbow jersey – but the Ineos Grenadiers rider himself believes that this decision has paid dividends when it comes to his current form on the road.
Read more: Men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2023 – contenders and predictions
“Yesterday in the recon [of Omloop het Nieuwsblad] I was going pretty well. My least favourite climb, the Bosberg, I went up it the fastest I’ve ever gone up it. Last week in Algarve, I was climbing well. It’s nice to get a win already after sacrificing the ‘cross. I was watching in envy, the [Cyclocross] World Championships, but it’s nice that it’s paying off a little bit already, the fact that I’ve had longer to prepare for the road season,” Pidcock explained at a recent press conference.
Tom Pidcock and Ben Turner during the recon of Omloop het Nieuwsblad (Image: Jasper Jacobs/Getty)
It’s true that Pidcock is looking like a different rider currently compared to this time last year. In the Volta ao Algarve two weeks ago, he stormed to a strong victory on stage four and was in contention for the overall race win after beating his breakaway companions in a three-up sprint to the line. Comparatively, in 2022, Pidcock didn’t finish the Portuguese stage race due to fatigue, went on to place 18th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad a few weeks later, then ended up 70th at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and didn’t finish Milan-San Remo due to stomach problems. It was a start to the season that the British rider will be keen not to repeat this year, and it seems like his changed run-up to the season could help this.
“Last year was inconsistent with illness and things, I wanted to get a more solid base [this year],” Pidcock explained. “We made the…
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