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Cyclocross

Tom Pidcock reconfirms no cyclocross world title defense

Ineos Grenadiers star will race only one more CX race before pivoting to the road and the spring classics.

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Tom Pidcock put the final nail in the coffin Sunday on any speculation of a late-hour reversal on his decision not to defend his cyclocross world title next month.

Speaking to reporters Sunday after finishing third in Baal, the Ineos Grenadiers said he will not be at Hoogerheide on February 5.

“The decision was made a long time ago,” Pidcock told reporters Sunday.

Pidcock’s coach Kurt Bogaerts, speaking to Sporza at the cyclocross race Sunday in Baal, confirmed that the focus will remain on the upcoming road season.

“Tom wants to ride a good classic spring and is fully focused on that,” Bogaerts told Sporza in Baal.

“We agreed on that a while ago,” Bogaerts said. “It’s because the worlds in Hoogerheide cannot be combined with the preparatory program that he has to complete.”

Bogaerts also said Pidcock will race cyclocross only one more time this month before leaving behind the mud to put a firm focus on the pavement, with the spring classics as a first early season goal.

While Wout van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel are both building for a clash at the world title, Pidcock’s confirmation means that there won’t be a “Big Three” battle in Hoogerheide.

The trio have been throwing down all winter in some exciting races, especially during the holiday “kerstperiode.”

There was some speculation that Pidcock might change his mind following a string of stunning performances against Van Aert and Van der Poel during the past few weeks.

His absence will take a bit of the shine of the elite men’s worlds, but his ambitions in the spring classics take priority right now.

Last year, Van Aert also skipped the worlds in the United States in part to avoid the long travel period as well as putting this classics ambitions at the center of his calendar.

Van Aert is confirmed for the 2023 worlds, and racing on a European venue will not require a long travel period like last year to the United States.

Pidcock, shown here racing at Loenhout last week, confirmed he won’t be defending his world title. (Photo: DAVID PINTENS/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Wild crash marks his race Sunday at Baal

Pidcock also shook off a crash in Sunday’s Baal race, where he finished third.

“It was a stupid fall, but I hope it was at least good on television,” Pidcock said. “I didn’t feel very good today, but I wanted to do a quick last lap. I went a little faster everywhere, but this was a dangerous point. It wasn’t my best idea.”