Despite crashing on the first lap, 23-year-old Tom Pidcock dominated the race at the European Championships on Friday, becoming the first Briton to win the title.
After five laps on the course in Munich, the multi-discipline Ineos Grenadiers rider, who recently won stage 12 of the Tour de France on Alpe D'Huez, left his rivals behind and soloed the remaining three laps.
Pidcock then managed to time-trial himself to the victory 11 seconds ahead of Denmark's Sebastian Fini Carstensen. Switzerland's Filippo Colombo took the bronze.
2022 european xc champs podium men.jpg, by SWpix.com
Pidcock’s race wasn’t smooth sailing from the start, as he crashed on the first corner, but didn’t let that affect his plan to chase a podium spot.
“It’s certainly a good indication of my form,” the Olympic mountain bike champion said following his victory.
"Maybe I went a bit early, it’s hard out front on your own. But my intention was to make it hard for myself because next week is the big goal, so it was a good day I think."
For many of the riders, Friday’s European XC Championships was an essential test of their shape ahead of next week's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. With his successful run, Pidcock has definitely marked himself as the favourite along with Nino Schurter, the defending World Champion.
Absent from the race was one of his main rivals, Swiss rider Mathias Flückiger is currently banned from racing after testing positive for Zeranol. Flückiger will not be on the start line this coming weekend.
If Pidcock's bid for victory next weekend is successful, the Briton would own three significant mountain bike titles - Olympic, European and World Champion, not to mention adding to his rainbow stripes as current cyclo-cross and e-mountain bike World Champion. With the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia coming in September on a favourable lumpy course, Pidcock will be heightening his chances of adding another rainbow-themed jersey to his growing collection.
"There are still a couple of World Championships to go so I'm not finished yet," Pidcock said.
2022 european xc champs podium women .jpg, by SWpix.com
The women's race was held on Saturday with much rainier and hence, muddier conditions. French rider Loana Lecomte powered to a solo victory, followed by teammate Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, while Anne Terpstra of the Netherlands took bronze.
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