Tom Pidcock: My condition will be good for Worlds

HOOGERHEIDE NETHERLANDS JANUARY 23 Thomas Pidcock of The United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers celebrates winning the third place on the podium ceremony after the 32nd GP Adrie Van der Poel Hoogerheide UCI CycloCross Worldcup 2022 Mens Elite CXWorldCup on January 23 2022 in Hoogerheide Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) is expecting his form to continue to improve heading into the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships held in Fayetteville, Arkansas from January 28-31. 

Pidcock is one of several main contenders for what he believes will be a 'good battle' for the the rainbow jersey next weekend.

"My condition will be good next week. It’s going to be a hard, fast race and a good battle. Everyone is in with a chance, it’s going to be interesting next week," Pidcock said. 

The Olympic gold medallist in the cross-country mountain bike discipline, Pidcock has had a strong season finishing on the podium in five of the six UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup rounds that he started, and winning the rounds in Rucphen and Hulst.

In the absence of Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) and Wout Van Aert (Belgium), Pidcock will face a series of contenders from the Belgian and Dutch teams.

Beglium is sending an eight-rider team that includes UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup series winner Eli Iserbyt, Quinten Hermans, Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout, Jens Adams, Vincent Baestaens, Daan Soete, and Laurens Sweeck. The Dutch team will field two riders with European Champion Lars van de Haar and Corné van Kessel.

"There are a lot of people who can win next week. The course is pretty similar and it's going to be a good race," Pidcock said of the circuit designed for the Worlds at Centennial Park.

In this weekend's races, a last-lap crash took Pidcock out of contention for the victory and he finished fifth in the X2O Badkamers Flandriencross in Hamme on Saturday, behind winner Sweeck, Aerts, Iserbyt and van der Haar.

At Sunday's final UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Hoogerheide, Pidcock finished in third behind Iserbyt and van der Haar, after leading for much of the middle section of the race alone. Although, Pidcock was able to respond to Iserbyt's attack in the closing stages of the race, he wasn't strong enough in the end to close the gap for the win. 

Iserbyt had enough left to take his 14th victory of the season in Hoogerheide by two seconds from van der Haar, who sprinted past Pidcock in third. 

"I think maybe I burnt a few too many matches. It was quite hard on my own at the front. They were making mistakes, but it meant somebody new was on the front all the time. I didn’t quite have enough of a gap for the elastic to snap. I was a bit complacent, and Eli [Iserbyt] got a bit of a gap," Pidcock said of the race in Hoogerheide.

"It’s not the end of the world. Not exactly how I hoped but there’s time to recover a bit this week and everything is to play for next week."

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