Tom Pidcock attempted a Grand Tour general classification challenge for the first time in 2023. Whilst he was top-10 for most of the race a disappointing third week saw him slip to 13th overall. Nevertheless, his coach Kurt Bogaerts saw enough to be optimistic.
“Progression from this year would be good. Like a top-five, a stage win with the GC contenders. That would be a healthy ambition," Bogaerts tells GCN of his ambitions for Pidcock at the 2024 Tour de France. "If you can ride top five then you’re close to the podium, but this year he was 13th, and well behind, so there are some serious steps that need to be done and we need to work hard at limiting losses."
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With Pidcock part of a two-pronged INEOS Grenadiers GC challenge at this year's Tour de France alongside Carlos Rodriguez, does Bogaerts fell the Brit is ready for sole leadership? “It’s a difficult one to say. You can’t say it until you’ve done it so when you start riding podium in a Grand Tour you can start talking about leadership," he answers. "I know that from a physical point of view he can still make massive steps, and it is an unknown territory for him. I think he’ll make another step in the coming year and then we’ll see where he’s at."
“Tom has shown good progression with the Tour. In my opinion, his Tour de France in 2023 was better than his first one, he just missed a stage win but his general progression was better," Bogaerts continues. "He was a stronger bike rider so hopefully he can make that curve continue in the right direction. Tom rode the majority of the Tour hard, he had two off days, and was really strong coming out of the Tour.”
With INEOS Grenadiers' general classification depth not as deep as it once was, their hope for Pidcock to develop into a possible Grand Tour winner has been brought forward, potentially before Pidcock himself is ready to fully dedicate.
"We saw good progression with Carlos, Geraint Thomas did it in the past, Egan Bernal has had an amazing recovery with a solid year behind him, and then with Tom, he is also progressing," Bogaerts says of the team's potential leaders chances of winning the Tour de France. "It would be a bit arrogant to say yes if you look at the dominance of Pogačar and Vingegaard in the last two years. Several times they were better, and there’s a gap to be closed but we’re working on that with the team. I’m confident that we’ll close that gap.”