Tom Pidcock had to settle for second place in the under 23 race at the Cyclo-Cross European Championships after his appeal against Eli Iserbyt's sprint was rejected. Iserbyt beat Pidcock in the two-up sprint but the British went to the commissaires, complaining that the Belgian had deviated from his line in the sprint along the barriers.
Iserbyt led the duo around the final corner after an earlier mistake from Pidcock gave him the upper-hand. The Belgian launched his sprint soon after and Pidcock attempted to overtake him up the right-hand side but was blocked when Iserbyt moved over to the right. Pidcock showed his displeasure by throwing his arm up as he crossed the line.
The British squad made it official with an appeal to the commissaires, but Iserbyt told the press that he didn't see Pidcock and the commissaires deems that the Belgian's move in the sprint wasn't against the regulations.
"I never saw Pidcock come, so there's no problem at all," Iserbyt said according to sport.be. "I did the sprint on the right side of the road. I was always looking forward and because the wind came from the right I decided to stay as close as possible to the barriers. I never saw him coming and chose my own line."
It was a challenging race all around for Pidcock, who hit the deck a number of times in the 53-minute event.
Pidcock was racing in the under 23 category for the first time at the European championships after winning last year's junior event in Pont-Château. He won the junior world title earlier this year before turning to road racing and winning the junior Paris-Roubaix and the junior time trial world title. He was the overwhelming favourite heading into the European Championships after a recent run of success.
The difficulties began when Pidcock got caught up in a crash on the opening lap and was forced to chase. He did so, joining a group at the front of seven riders, which would eventually grow out to 10. Mishap struck again on lap four when Pidcock went over the handlebars when his wheel got stuck as he tried to negotiate the hurdles.
He regained contact but found himself in the mud again in the same place on the penultimate lap when he went over the handlebars for the second time. It required another furious chase from the Briton but he eventually pulled clear with Iserbyt.
Pidcock held the front for much of the finale but misjudged one of the final corners to allow Iserbyt to switch places. Iserbyt then edged out Pidcock to take the win with Sieben Wouters (Netherlands) claiming the bronze after France's Joshua Dubau crashed dramatically in the final corner.
Pidcock later joked on Twitter about his ride, writing, "Well, I rode that absolutely perfectly," with an emoji rolling its eyes.