Pidcock was left to take fourth in Ostende after Belgian rider Toon Aerts bettered him in the fight for third place. Though the young Brit had been widely touted to have the potential to land on the podium behind standout riders Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, Pidcock is seeking long-term positives from finishing just 13 seconds off the podium.
“I certainly could have been on the podium, so it’s a big disappointment in that area,” he said after the race. “But in the end … within four or five years, no one will even know who was third, so it’s not that bad now.”
The Brit came close to the podium position that many had predicted for him as he battled with Aerts for bronze in the final laps, leading his Belgian rival for several moments in the race. However, the 21-year-old said he lacked the consistency to make it count.
“I felt good today, but some of my laps were good, some shit,” he said. “I came close to Toon Aerts, but unfortunately not close enough. In the end, I can say that I made a good race. Only a few passages in the sand were less so – that doesn’t suit us Brits after all.”
Pidcock’s ride on the sandy circuit of Ostende on Sunday puts a close to a standout season that has seen him emerge as the leading challenger to van der Poel and van Aert, who took first and second place Sunday. The race also marks the end of his career with Team Trinity Racing and the start of a new chapter as he starts a three-year contract with Ineos Grenadiers. Pidcock is penciled in to make his road debut with Ineos at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at the end of February in Belgium.
“Overall, I can look back on my year of ‘cross with satisfaction,” Pidcock said. “This gives me confidence for the road season. I think I will be even stronger next season. Wout and Mathieu are four to five years older than me, so I have a little more time to grow. Hopefully, I can really put them to the test next year. ”