Tom Pidcock‘s palmarès continues to expand, with the multi-talented British youngster becoming the European champion in the XC mountain bike at the European Championships on Friday.
The 23-year-old Briton is already the Olympic champion in the discipline after his victory in Tokyo last year, and marked himself out as the favourite for the world title at next week’s World Championships in France.
Pidcock, who won the world title in cyclo-cross earlier in the year and a Tour de France stage on the road this summer, was making just his fourth elite-level MTB appearance of the year. As such, he started far from the front row, but steadily worked his way through the field to solo to the gold medal.
On the fourth of eight laps of the 4.3km Munich circuit, Pidcock made it up to the front group and wasted no time in hitting the front to force the issue. On the following lap, he was away, and the final three laps were more of an exhibition, as Pidcock threw in whips and tricks amid his searing out-of-the-saddle accelerations.
He crossed the line 26 seconds clear of a chasing trio, with Sebastian Carstensen (Denmark) claiming the silver medal and Filippo Colombo (Switzerland) the bronze ahead of Victor Koretzky (France).
“It’s certainly a good indication,” Pidcock said of Worlds. “Maybe it was a little bit early – it’s quite hard out front on your own. The idea was to make it hard for myself because next week is the big goal.
“Good day, I think. It was super nice racing out in front of these crowds as well – the crowds were fantastic.”
After taking aim at the rainbow jersey in Les Gets next week, Pidcock will switch back to the road, his major target being the World Championships in Australia. If he does take the MTB rainbow jersey next weekend to go with the one from ‘cross already in his locker, he could be in the frame for an incredible rainbow treble.
“Switching back again [from the road], it’s not so bad. I had a pretty good base in the Tour, a bit of high intensity, so who knows,” he said.
“It’s going to be a long season, but I’m going to try my best to be in top shape next week and then in a month and a half’s time [for the Road World Championships] as well.”