While a large portion of the men's peloton are heading to Hungary and Italy for the Giro d'Italia, and others use May as a training block ahead of June stage races and the Tour de France, Tom Pidcock is taking a different route as he switches disciplines to get back on his mountain bike.
The 22-year-old Olympic cross-country MTB champion is set to take in four races on the mountain bike this month in Germany and the Czech Republic, bypassing the chance to race his second career Grand Tour at the Giro d'Italia.
He'll head to Albstadt in Germany for the second round of the UCI World Cup this weekend, where he'll take on Friday's short-track race and Sunday's cross-country race. Next weekend (May 13-15) he's set to do the same in Nové Mesto, where he took victory last year.
"It was a difficult Classics season, to say the least, with a few too many setbacks," Pidcock wrote on Instagram. "A couple weekends of MTB World Cups should do the trick to get the train back on the tracks. Albstadt and Nové Mesto coming up."
Last winter, Pidcock had been among the major names on Ineos Grenadiers' team sheet for the Giro d'Italia. In December, directeur sportif Matteo Tosatto indicated he'd join the likes of Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Elia Viviani at the Corsa Rosa.
However, five months is a long in professional cycling, and Pidcock will instead be trading in his road bike for a mountain bike this month. His trainer Kurt Bogaerts told Het Nieuwsblad that a hard spring campaign, which saw Pidcock's racing disrupted by illness, has brought the change in plans for him and the team.
"You have to be able to perform consistently for 21 days in a row," Bogaerts said about selection for the Italian Grand Tour. "Overall, he was better than he was last year, but he alternated good days and bad too much.
"We know the reason – he got sick before Strade Bianche, which made Milan-San Remo go wrong. His La Flèche Wallonne was bad, too, but after a few days of rest we saw a good Tom again at Liège-Bastogne-Liège."
In March, Ineos deputy principal Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews that Pidcock was in the frame for a debut at the Tour de France this summer, where he'd race alongside Geraint Thomas, Dani Martínez, Adam Yates, and Filippo Ganna following Egan Bernal's career-altering accident in January.
"We're not sure if he'll do the Giro or the Tour this year," Ellingworth said at the time. "He's got a big spring programme and so we'll see how it goes. It's perhaps too early to fully understand if he can develop into a great Grand Tour rider but you've got to keep the door open and explore all the options."
Bogaerts said that it's still too early to talk about what Pidcock – who recently signed a five-year extension at Ineos – could do in July, though. He's set to return to road racing in June with the eight-day Tour de Suisse or the shorter Route d'Occitanie.
"In the first few stages he could possible take his chances," Bogaerts said of the Tour. "For GC he should be able to play a support role for Martínez, Thomas, and Yates.
"But it's too early to talk about that. After [May's mountain bike races] rebuilding will follow. In principle he'll start again at the Tour de Suisse or the Route d'Occitanie. Last year he was supposed to race Suisse but he broke his collarbone just before."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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