Tom Pidcock wins Rucphen World Cup

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) added another piece of history to his growing palmarès by becoming the first British man to win an elite cyclo-cross World Cup. 

The Olympic mountain bike champion caught the leading Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal duo of Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout in the closing stages of the final lap. 

Jumping the final hurdles on his bike alongside Iserbyt the British rider made his pass and then sprinted to victory. Pidcock celebrated victory narrowly beating rival Iserbyt while Vanthourenhout finished third. 

Pidcock had been put under pressure by the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal duo sitting a few seconds back during the last lap before coming back strongly late in the race. 

“I was losing a lot of time in the corners and I was struggling to keep up,” said Pidcock. 

“Every lap I was having to chase and Michael (Vanthourenhout) and Eli (Iserbyt) were making it really hard for me. I didn’t give up and Eli just backed off into the final hurdles. 

“They were riding super hard and I was just doing everything to stay with them but in the last lap I was able to keep concentrating and not make any mistakes and just come back." 

It was the first time in nearly eight years that a non-Belgium or Dutch rider had won a men’s cyclo-cross World Cup since Francis Mourey in December 2013. 

“It was my first also as an elite so it’s a good day. I need to recover from today and we’ll see about tomorrow (at Namur)," he said. 

Iserby leads the overall World Cup series by a healthy 109 points heading into round 11 at Namur tomorrow.

How it unfolded

After riders were treated to an electric atmosphere at Val di Sole in Italy last weekend a quiet Rucphen saw no spectators attend due to Covid-19 restrictions in Holland. 

The course was also vastly different from the previous weekend with the snow making way for a fast course with lots of corners to sprint out of. 

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) finished third in his first World Cup event of the season last weekend but after missing the early parts of the season had to start from the third row. 

European champion Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) had won four times previously in Rucphen and mastered the start leading into the first bend. 

An opening corner crash 15 riders back saw Daan Soete (CX Team Deschacht - Group Hens - Maes Containers) and Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions) amongst those crashing out and ending their chances. 

With his brother missing the weekend through injury David Van der Poel (Alpecin - Fenix) was keen to impress and joined Van Der Haar leading out the opening lap. 

Battling his way through on the opening lap British champion Pidcock was forced to close gaps moving up to 10th. 

Overall World Cup leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal) was keen that Pidcock was not allowed back to the head of proceedings and forced the second lap pace in an initial leading group of five. 

However, as the pace eased a large group of 11 riders including Pidcock came together at the front. 

Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus Cyclo Cross Team) was the next rider to force the pace forcing Pidcock to ride across the slender gap to the leading six. 

Pidcock had lapped fastest on two of the opening three laps and went straight to the front of the leading group attacking out of each corner. 

Not allowing his rival to dictate the pace Iserbyt attempted to pass on some steps but lost his footing and dropped back down the leading group. 

Due to the fast and sweeping course conditions a group of 12 riders remained in the front group by the midway point of the race. 

After winning a World Cup round at Fayetteville earlier this season Hermans continued to force the pace but was closely monitored by Pidcock. 

A mistake in the sand by Hermans gave Iserbyt a chance to attack snaking the leading group along the finishing straight but failing to find a gap. 

With 12 cyclo-cross wins to his name this season and a healthy World Cup lead Iserbyt started to master the Rucphen course with Pidcock under pressure to close the small gap. 

After catching his rival Olympic mountain bike champion Pidcock then went on the offensive with only Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) able to match his initial surge as the chasers scrambled to re-join the trio. 

Vanthourenhout finished second in Val di Sole last weekend beating Pidcock and also looked a threat in the eight-man leading group taking the front during the penultimate lap. 

The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammates Vanthourenhout and Iserbyt were putting pressure on their rivals and had a slender gap with over a lap remaining. 

Taking the bell the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal duo had a three-second gap on Pidcock while Hermans was a further second back. 

Pidcock was giving everything in the last lap chase with Iserbyt driving the pace and closely followed by Vanthourenhout. 

The British champion rallied and passed Vanthourenhout coming into the sand pit on the final lap and then went in search of Iserbyt. 

Coming into the planks Pidcock passed his rival and then sprinted to victory on the asphalt. 

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Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas Pidcock (GBr) 1:03:26
2Eli Iserbyt (Bel) 0:00:03
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) 0:00:08
4Quinten Hermans (Bel) 0:00:12
5Lars van der Haar (Ned) 0:00:15
6Toon Aerts (Bel) 0:00:35
7Laurens Sweeck (Bel) 0:00:54
8Corne van Kessel (Ned) 0:01:03
9Vincent Baestaens (Bel) 0:01:07
10Toon Vandebosch (Bel) 0:01:09
11Kevin Kuhn (Swi) 0:01:19
12Niels Vandeputte (Bel) 0:01:26
13Daan Soete (Bel) 0:01:33
14Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) 0:01:34
15Tim Merlier (Bel) 0:01:36
16David van der Poel (Ned) 0:01:40
17Mees Hendrikx (Ned) 0:01:55
18Marcel Meisen (Ger) 0:02:03
19Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) 0:02:06
20Tom Meeusen (Bel) 0:02:11
21Michael Boroš (Cze) 0:02:12
22Thomas Mein (GBr) 0:02:15
23Timon Rüegg (Swi) 0:02:26
24Ben Turner (GBr) 0:02:32
25Curtis White (USA) 0:02:43
26Jakob Dorigoni (Ita) 0:02:51
27Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)
28Stan Godrie (Ned)
29Cameron Mason (GBr) 0:03:11
30Ugo Ananie (Fra) 0:03:18
31Steve Chainel (Fra) 0:03:30
32Pim Ronhaar (Ned) 0:03:54
33Toby Barnes (GBr) 0:04:00
34Sascha Weber (Ger) 0:04:20
35Kerry Werner (USA) 0:04:23
36Gioele Bertolini (Ita) 0:04:26
37Lucas Janssen (Ned) 0:04:33
38Gosse van der Meer (Ned) 0:04:46
39Louis Sparfel (Fra) 0:04:54
40Antony Chamerat Dumont (Fra) 0:05:03
41Nathan Bommenel (Fra) 0:05:14
42Lance Haidet (USA) 0:05:19
43Samuel Gaze (NZl) 0:05:20
44Michael van den Ham (Can) 0:05:22
45Joost Brinkman (Ned) 0:05:41
46Aurélien Philibert (Fra) 0:05:47
47Caleb Swartz (USA)
48Alain Suarez Fernandez (Spa) 0:05:55
49Eliote Ponchon (Fra)
50Pierrick Burnet (Fra) 0:06:17
51Lubomír Petruš (Cze)
52Timothé Gabriel (Fra)
53Raphaël Kockelmann (Lux)
54Sean Nolan (Irl)
55Cameron Jette (Can)
56Andrew Giniat (USA)
57Tyler Cloutier (USA)
58Jozsef-attila Malnasi (Rom)
59Felipe Timoteo (CRc)

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