Ineos Grenadiers to let Tom Pidcock ‘keep following his ambition’ after Tour de France triumph
Grand tour powerhouse leaves open path for Pidcock to explore after young Brit packs more prestige into palmarès on Alpe d'Huez.
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MENDE, France (VN) – Ineos Grenadiers isn’t going to put a lid on Tom Pidcock after the young Brit popped some of the finest Tour de France champagne on the Alpe d’Huez this week.
Ineos Grenadiers deputy principal Rod Ellingworth is ruling nothing out – including a future as a Tour de France contender – for his 22-year-old wunderkind.
“Tom is so diverse in what he does. He’s got a real open mind. He’s a great character in the way he races and we’ll just keep following his ambition. And we’ll keep pushing as we always do,” Ellingworth told reporters this week.
Pidcock has a palmarès even more diverse than the far-ranging repertoire of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Olympic mountain bike gold, cyclocross world titles, and classics victories headlined Pidcock’s win-list before his Tour debut this month.
Victory in the “queen stage” of the Alps brings huge added bling to a blockbuster bunch of achievements.
“I’m ambitious, I’m here to learn, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot,” Pidcock said after he scored solo victory Thursday. “I think I have bigger ambitions in this race in the future for sure after this experience.”
- Pidcock becomes youngest winner on Alpe d’Huez
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Sky / Ineos pumped Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, and Egan Bernal through its grand tour boot camp.
It turned Wiggins and Thomas’ track talent into climbing chops and buffed out rough diamonds in Bernal and Froome.
Pidcock might be next through the winning-wringer.
“You can’t say he can’t win the Tour de France in the future, of course it’s possible,” Ellingworth said.
“I say that off the back of our experience, and I would use Geraint [Thomas] as the example. At 22 you never said Geraint was going to win the Tour, but you wouldn’t say he couldn’t.”
Ellingworth and Pidcock’s coach Kurt Bogaerts are convinced Pidcock has grand tour wins in his legs and the mindset to make it real.
But first, he needs experience on the biggest stage.
Pidcock is carrying bottles as much as he is crushing climbs in what is the second grand tour of his career.
“I think it’s about him learning and understanding,” Ellingworth said. “Part of the goal for him here is to soak up the Tour.”
‘Somebody like Tom, they don’t sit still’
Currently eighth overall but far from podium range, Pidcock is a key pawn in Thomas’ dark horse tilt at a second yellow jersey this month.
Ellingworth is convinced domestique duty will convert in years to come.
“You ween them in over the years,” he said.
“It’s like when we bought Egan [Bernal] in – he was young and everyone questioned it. He did his first tour [in 2018], he experienced the whole thing, then the following year, he won the Tour and he’s been one of the greatest grand tour riders we’ve ever seen.”
So is Pidcock going to tune his firecracker flamboyance into three-week dieseling in the coming years?
Don’t count on it. Pidcock is still making hay on the mountain bike, and the European and world MTB championships are on his agenda. A cyclocross rainbow jersey defense will follow later this winter.
Ellingworth acknowledges that grand tours aren’t the only tastes in Pidcock’s voracious appetite.
“Somebody like Tom, they see the next big thing, they don’t sit still – he’s not going to dwell on [winning on the Alpe] too long,” he said. “He will move on pretty quick. So he’s already thinking about the next thing you know, that’s what I will see with your biggest, champions.”
A yellow jersey could be in Pidcock’s future. But so much more might be, too.