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Pidcock and Van Baarle lead Ineos Grenadiers at E3 Saxo Bank Classic

NINOVE, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 27 : during the Flanders Classics 76th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad cycling race with start in Ghent and finish in Ninove on February 27, 2021 in Ninove, Belgium, 27/02/2021 ( Motordriver Kenny Verfaillie - Photo by Nico Vereecken / Photo News
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Tom Pidcock will join Dylan van Baarle as a team leader for Ineos Grenadiers in Friday’s E3 Saxo Bank Classic after the young British rider’s impressive results bolstered his Classics campaign.

Ineos has been hit by several injuries with a fractured scaphoid meaning Gianni Moscon will not ride the Classics. Luke Rowe is riding this week’s Volta a Catalunya, while Michał Kwiatkowski has been diagnosed with a fractured rib after racing Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. 

Also in the Ineos line-up for the E3 Saxo Bank Classic are Owain Doull, Michał Gołaś, Jhonatan Narváez, Leonardo Basso and Cameron Wurf.  

The 21-year-old Pidcock made his debut with Ineos Grenadiers at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var in France after a busy winter of cyclo-cross racing. He was expected to ease into racing at WorldTour level but then finished at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and fifth at Strade Bianche. 

Despite tendinitis slowing his training last week, Pidcock was also selected for Milan-San Remo. Given a free role, he surprised many by making the select group of 17 riders that formed after the Poggio and lead the race down the descent. He eventually finished 15th behind Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).

Pidcock was expected to target the hillier Ardennes Classics but his bike skills and love for Flemish racing means he is suited to the cobbled Classics. 

Ineos selected him for E3 Saxo Bank Classic and he is also expected to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen next Wednesday and then Tour of Flanders on Easter Sunday. He will not ride Paris-Roubaix despite being a former winner of the Junior and under-23 race. Instead he will reportedly ride the hiller Brabantse Pijl, then the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne.

Pidcock is scheduled to ride the Vuelta a España as his debut Grand Tour in the second half of the season after targeting the mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer.