Tom Pidcock has the Olympic Games this coming years and will put focus into Mountain Biking. However that is not the only plan INEOS have for him, as they look to transition him into a Grand Tour contender as well throughout the upcoming months.
“Of course we want to go with more ambition to stage races like Tirreno for example. It's his GC strength that we want to develop and that starts in some small races like Tirreno, Paris-Nice for example or the Critérium du Dauphiné," Pidcock's coach Kurt Bogaerts told CyclingWeekly. "You'll not solely develop that in the Tour. We want to do a few more races like that with a little bit more emphasis on trying to do a good result and grow in the GC. That also shows why you do TT testing, why you do wind tunnel testing and gives purpose to it.”
"You cannot lose kilos and still be so explosive that you beat Mathieu van der Poel" - Wout van Aert's problem with GC goals, according to Thijs Zonneveld
Pidcock is a cyclocross and mountain bike specialist. Naturally, this had him excel in the explosive efforts on the road - he has a victory in Strade Bianche, podiums at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Amstel Gold Race. His lack of consistency in the mountains also leads that to be his field on the road. “He would like to target it again. It's a race in general that he really loves and with the team we are putting a puzzle together where it's highly likely it will fit in," Bogaerts says of Strade Bianche and how it may fit in the team's plans.
"Strade is definitely a race that I see Tom returning to several times. Obviously it's not a Monument, but it's probably the one that comes closest to a Monument. It's quite iconic and is the closest you can come to like the old fashioned style of racing on dirt roads. The finish is quite nice [in the square], the environment is nice, that part of Italy is a really great place. I know that doing well in that race is something he would like to do several times. There's other races he would like to win once, but I think he wouldn't say no to a second win there. It means a lot to him, this race, and I see him going back there regularly.”
However as an under-23 rider Pidcock showed a lot of potential as a climber. He won then at Alpe d'Huez at the 2022 Tour and last year stuck around for two weeks in the fight for the top places. This climaxed with a fifth place on the Grand Colombier - where from the peloton, he only finished behind Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar. He cracked the following days and finished 13th, but the team have understood that there is a good base to work with. In 2024 he will likely follow a program of a few stage races heading up to the Tour de France - whilst connecting that with a few MTB races.
“Kwiato for example, won Strade in the past and other Monuments," the Belgian says of inspirations for Pidcock. "He committed to Tom 100% that day. He gives experience of certain races that only winners can give you and he shares that with us. There is real respect between these guys. It’s unique because some guys can be very protective with their knowledge towards the younger generation. I've mentioned Kwiato but we have a lot of guys in our team that are."