Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) continued his impressive Classics campaign with third in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday. The British rider made it into a key break in the latter stages of the race and then powered to the line to finish just behind winner Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie).
The result comes after the Ineos rider went on the attack several times in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday.
Pidcock's result represented a strong all-round performance from the Ineos team, who had Jhonatan Narvaez in the most important break of the day that also included Mathieu van de Poel.
The Dutch rider attacked with Narvaez with over 80km remaining and although the move was caught with just under 2km to go, it allowed Pidcock to save his energy for the finish.
Pidcock had to open his sprint earlier than Pedersen, who had Jasper Stuyven to help him, but the British rider nevertheless capped an excellent debut for an Opening Weekend.
“I actually didn’t know what to do,” Pidcock told Cyclingnews when asked about the sprint finish.
“It’s been a while since I’ve tried to go for a sprint so I was thinking about going on Pedersen’s wheel and if I had maybe I would have got a jump and come past but it was pretty good and it gives me confidence.”
On Saturday, Pidcock made several key attacks as the race unfolded in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He admitted that his tactics could have been better on that occasion but on Sunday he was patient and followed wheels on a course that typically favours a sprint.
“In the first road races of the season I don’t always ride with the best tactics. I think that yesterday I had much better legs than today and I was one of the strongest but I just didn’t use them properly. Today I just used my head more. I didn’t have great legs but I managed to finish on the podium.
While Pidcock was surfing wheels and keeping out of the wind his cyclo-cross rival Mathieu van der Poel was on a mission, having broken clear with 83km to go and forging ahead with a small group. The attack was nullified since the final 2,000 metres of a tense but exciting race.
“I think that he tried to put on a spectacle where he could have won the race much easier and he ended up not winning. Sometimes you just need to take the easy option. Maybe he wanted a good training ride but it was impressive nonetheless.”
Next up for Pidcock are the dirt roads of Strade Bianche, where he will no doubt have a leadership role within Ineos.
“I think that I should be good. I’ll go and have fun and it’s one of my favourite races. I’m going to enjoy it. We have quite open plans.”
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