Tom Pidcock learning by losing ahead of assault on cyclocross worlds

Stuck in Belgium for the holidays, rising UK star will join new Ineos Grenadiers teammates in January training camp.

Tom Pidcock will spend Christmas alone in Belgium, but he won’t let that bring him down as he eyes new challenges early in 2021.

Pidcock, 21, was hoping to see his girlfriend and family, but the border closure between the UK and Belgium means he will likely be spending the holidays alone as he puts the finishing touches on his form ahead of the 2021 UCI world cyclocross championships.

“I will celebrate Christmas on my own,” the Trinity Racing rider told reporters. “I’m already on the road a lot as a cyclist, but now I have no idea when I will see them again. I will stay in Belgium until early January, and then I will go to a training camp with Ineos.”

Pidcock will swap out his cyclocross kit for his new road jersey with a team camp in January as he’s set to join Ineos Grenadiers on a three-year deal, through 2023.

Pidcock is hoping is leave cyclocross on a high before fully embracing his new challenge with the Ineos Grenadiers in 2021. Pidcock, who soloed to victory at the Superprestige Gavere earlier this month, is hoping to carry that momentum into the worlds set for January 31, in Ostende.

He was in the driver’s seat last weekend in Namur, and almost played giant-killer against Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert. The 21-year-old blasted out of the gate to lead for much of the race, only to succumb in the closing laps to the superior power of the cyclocross superstars, hanging on to pride to finish third.

Rather than be deflated by the close call, the soon-to-be WorldTour rider only takes confidence in his performances.

“I felt I had more in me in the last lap,” Pidcock told reporters. “I didn’t know how strong I was.”

After finishing third in Essen on Tuesday, again behind van der Poel, Pidcock returns to racing this weekend, with races in Zolder on Saturday and Dendermonde on Sunday.

“I had the idea of winning from the lead,” he said of the Namur race. “If I had won, I wouldn’t have learned anything. I learned a lot by not winning. I learned that I need more confidence in the last lap. Wout and Mathieu are now riders I have to race, not riders I have to look up to. If I had believed in myself, I could have finished second.”