Tom Pidcock soloes for win at Superprestige Gavere

Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) claimed his first major international cyclo-cross victory as an elite on Sunday, riding away from world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) at Superprestige Gavere. 

After finishing a distant second to the Dutchman in his first elite Worlds earlier this year, the 21-year-old Briton demonstrated his progression in his second elite season with a commanding display in the Gavere mud. 

Having taken the reigns on the opening lap, it looked like he might be paying for his early efforts as Van der Poel and Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) came back to him and then started to drop him. But Pidcock assertively muscled through to the front at the half-way mark and proceeded to drop Aerts and then ride away from Van der Poel, who made a couple of costly errors.

Even so, Pidcock, who clearly wasn’t fading at all, was the strongest rider on the course and only extended his lead as he soloed through the last two-and-a-half laps. 

He came to the finish line, where he sat up with a celebration of disbelief, some 25 seconds clear of Van der Poel. Aerts claimed the final podium spot at 44 seconds. 

Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) finished fourth to retain his overall lead in the Superprestige series. The European champion had a slow start but soon established himself as the lead chaser behind the front three, although he was unable to claw his way back to Aerts in the final laps.

Only four riders finished within a minute of Pidcock, as Lars van der Haar (Telenet Baloise Lions) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) came home ahead of the Tormans Team trio of Quentin Hermans, Corne van Kessel, and Pidcock’s compatriot Thomas Mein. Daan Soete (Hens-Maes) rounded out the top 10

In the overall Superprestige standings, Iserbyt sees his lead cut by Aerts to four points, but there’s now an 11-point gulf to third place, where Vanthourenhout has leap-frogged Sweeck. Two rounds of the Superprestige remain, in Heuden-Zolder and Middelkerke.

How it unfolded

Hermans had the best start but it wasn’t long before Pidcock stated his intentions. He muscled past Van der Poel early on to make his way over to Hermans and then drop the Belgian. Such was his charge, he was alone out front with a lead of five seconds at the end of the first of eight laps. 

Van der Poel made his way across as Pidcock visited the pits, but there were signs of what was to come as the youngster was stronger on the descents and steep bankings. Van der Poel did make contact, while Aerts managed to drag himself across by the end of lap 2 to make it a leading trio. 

It was on lap 3 where Pidcock’s grip slipped, and it looked like he may have set out too hard. He managed to stay in contact but Aerts took control on lap 4 and Pidcock was left dangling, yo-yoing off the back of the leaders. He looked in real trouble when Van der Poel took it up on the longer drag of a climb, but he clawed his way back and even muscled through to the front as the trio crossed the line. It wasn’t just a psychological game, as Pidcock from there established himself as far and away the strongest rider in the race. 

Aerts was the first to fall away on lap, and Pidcock looked comfortable this time as Van der Poel again led up the long climb. By the end of lap 5, the duo had nine seconds over Aerts, while Iserbyt had punched clear of the main chase and was at 17 seconds. 

Lap 6 was the turning point. Van der Poel made a couple of mistakes and had to put his foot down, the second time leaving him struggling through the thick mud. Pidcock had a gap, and from there he prized it open. He was on the charge again and had 14 seconds in hand at the end of lap 6, at which point Aerts was at 25 seconds and Iserbyt back at 41. The trend continued on the final two laps as Pidcock went from strength to strength while the rest started to fade. 

He’d put another second into Van der Poel at the bell and made no mistake on the final lap to finish off what was surely one of the defining performances of his young career. 

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing0:58:11
2Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin Fenix 0:00:25
3Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:00:44
4Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:00:54
5Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:01:01
6Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:01:13
7Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:01:31
8Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:02:47
9Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:03:24
10Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers 0:03:33
11Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:03:39
12Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:03:41
13Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing 0:03:43
14Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:04:12
15Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:04:17
16Marcel Meisen (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
17David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:04:20
18Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:04:22
19Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads 0:04:27
20Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers 0:04:33
21Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:04:39
22Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Credishop-Fristads 0:05:03
23Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:05:12
24Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:05:28
25Lander Loockx (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers 0:05:32
26Loris Rouiller (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 0:05:36
27Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:05:37
28Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:05:59
29Joran Wyseure (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen BC 0:06:07
30Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:06:18
31Curtis White (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld 0:06:32
32Joshua Dubau (Fra)0:06:42
33Yan Gras (Fra) AAA Sörius 0:06:51
34Seppe Rombouts (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen Bc 0:07:33
35Aurélien Philibert (Fra) Ardennes Cross Team 0:07:51
36Robin Alderweireld (Bel) Team Atom 6 0:08:04
37Michael van den Ham (Can)-1 lap
38Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal - 2 laps
39Arthur Tropardy (Fra)
40Lucas Dubau (Fra)
41Wout Vervoort (Bel) Iko-crelan
42Joachim van Looveren (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
43Hugo Jot (Fra) Ardennes Cross Team
44Gabriel Timothé (Fra)
45Koen van Dijke (Ned) -3 laps
46Bart Artz (Ned)
47Ydris Salomez (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
48Yves Coolen (Bel) Beat Cycling Team -4 laps
49Lucas Brondani (Fra) AS Bike Crossteam
DNFTim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFDiether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads
DNFJim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
DNFGianni Siebens (Bel) Urbano Cycling Team
DNFVincent Oger (Bel) Entente Cycliste de Wallonie
DNFKlaas Groenen (Ned)
DNFDolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
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Overall standings after round 6/8
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal84
2Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions80
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal69
4Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal66
5Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions65
6Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team61
7Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers42
8Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team36
9Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal30
10Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Teika-BH-Gsport23

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