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The 23-year-old made his Grand Boucle debut this season, winning a stage on the Alpe d’Huez and finishing 16th overall.
Already a world champion in two disciplines, he is often touted as a grand tour winner in the making, including by his own teammate, and former Tour winner, Geraint Thomas. However, Pidcock doesn’t see himself as a match for the likes of 2022 winner Jonas Vingegaard, and double Tour champion Tadej Pogačar.
“When I was 12 years old racing around in a yellow jersey, somewhere in the UK, I think I dreamed of winning the Tour de France but maybe not next year,” Pidcock told Belgian broadcaster Sporza. “You see Vingegaard and Tadej and I don’t imagine I can beat them yet. Maybe I can beat them on one day, but over three weeks it’s a different story.”
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Pidcock was speaking at the reveal of the Tour de France route for next year, which will start in Bilbao on Saturday, July 1. Mark Cavendish described the opening week the “hardest” he’d seen in his career with two hilly stages to start and mountains coming earlier than they have done for over 40 years.
The first days of a grand tour, particularly the Tour de France, can be very chaotic with crashes ending some riders’ hopes very early on. Pidcock hopes that the difficult start will have a dampening effect on the chaos.
“I think it’s hard and it starts hard already. There’s no easing into it, straight away the first day there’s possibilities for the GC to make time or lose time. That also means that there’ll be less crashes, if the GC is already decided in the first days,” he said.
“You can’t see so much detail on the presentation, as nice as the animations are. Certainly, there are some big mountain stages and then there are quite a few flat sprinter stages. There’s more of the extremes than this year’s Tour, where there were quite a few intermediate stages.”
Though he ultimately secured a solid finish on the GC, Pidcock went into this year’s Tour with ambitions of searching out a stage win. Asked how he might tackle 2023, he wasn’t so sure yet.
“I don’t know about my role, honestly. I guess, maybe it’s up to me but I don’t really know,” he said.
🤩 Here it is, the official route of the #TDF2023!
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) October 27, 2022
Before Pidcock tackles next year’s road season, he’s got a cyclocross program to race. He has been enjoying a break from racing since wrapping up the curtailed Tour of Britain in early October, but his first ‘cross race is on the horizon.
What that will be is uncertain at the moment, but he plans to map out a concrete race calendar by the end of next week.
“I don’t fully know what my program is yet, but I will start in three or four weeks, I think,” he said.
One thing he plans to decide on soon is whether or not he defends his cyclocross world title in Hoogerheide at the end of January. Pidcock took a dominant win in Fayetteville earlier this year but isn’t sure if he’ll race the 2023 event as he looks to prepare for an assault on the spring classics.
“Every year with ‘cross in the winter, it’s hard. I’m going to ride cross, but how much I don’t know because I want to have a good preparation for the road season next year,” he said.