It took just 11 race days for Tom Pidcock to take his first pro win after stepping up to the WorldTour with Ineos Grenadiers this year, outsprinting Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert in the final of Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday afternoon.
The 21-year-old Briton came out on top from an elite lead group after 201 kilometres of racing, beating the Belgian superstar and a former European champion, UAE Team Emirates leader Matteo Trentin, to the line in Overijse.
Having already finished third at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and fifth at Strade Bianche this spring, Pidcock said that he was glad to not make a habit of the near misses, even if he's only just started out racing on the road at the top level.
"It's nice to get a win," Pidcock said in understated fashion after the finish. "I've kind of been up there in a few races, and to win – it's nice to not make a trend of being up there but not winning, so that's nice."
Pidcock hadn't raced in 10 days since the Tour of Flanders, where he finished 41st after going on the attack earlier in the race. However, a block of training in the interim put him in good stead for the last of the Flanders Classics and the warm-up to the Ardennes triple.
"I knew I was going well into this race. I had a good week's training with no interruptions. I knew I was going to be good and it's nice to actually be good until the finish," he said.
"I knew Trentin was kind of a bit [done] from being away, so I thought Van Aert is the guy here. I ended up in front of him when I ideally wanted to be behind him. He opened up the sprint and then he kind of died and I came around him.
"I always go into a sprint with confidence. Wout was pulling super hard every time we got away. I was doing the same watts to get on his wheel. He was pulling super hard, but maybe too hard in the end."
Pidcock has raced at the elite level in cyclo-cross for two campaigns now, but –barring a few excursions at the Tour of Britain, Tour de Yorkshire and last year's Worlds road race in Imola – he has only raced at the junior and U23 level on the road before 2021.
Despite winning major races at various youth levels, including last year's U23 Giro d'Italia, plus Paris-Roubaix espoirs and the Tour Alsace in 2019, Pidcock said that the opening months of his pro career have taken some adjustment, even considering his impressive results so far.
"I mean it's about just finding my feet and where I am," he said. "Positioning is most important in these races. Before, I could correct bad positioning because I was stronger in the younger categories, but it's super important for positioning and I have to thank Luke [Rowe] and the team for that. They did a super-good job."
Pidcock will be back in action on Sunday at Amstel Gold Race and then mid-week at La Flèche Wallonne, he said, adding that the challenge now is for him to get consistent with his results.
"I'll do certainly Amstel and Flèche. I think along with some other guys we'll always have a few options. We'll see," he said.
"Being consistent is hard because the level is so high. Maybe in the next race I might not be in the front group at the finish, so we'll see."
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