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“That was a difficult race,” he said at the line. “If I’m honest I felt crap all race. I just couldn’t push, I had one pace. I just couldn’t go hard enough to split it, but the pace we were going was
quite comfortable, it was weird.”
This is Pidcock’s second win on the techy Czech course; last year, he took his first elite World Cup win at Nové Město by riding away from Mathieu van der Poel.
A flat tire sent Nino Schurter back into 17th place, but the world champion managed to ride back to the front of the race and take a third place finish.
As always, the race got off to a fast start with the riders staying bunched up for the first several minutes of the start lap. Dascalu showed his dominance as he was the first man into the first
singletrack section of the race, followed by Sam Gaze and Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo. Pidcock didn’t show his nose until the first full lap of the race, coming to the front as the course
passed through the second split time check. He opened a small gap but the leaders came together again on the next climb.
Schurter made an early move during lap three just before the Shimano Expert Climb, a steep, rocky, and root-filled section of trail, but he was not able to gain much of an advantage. Midway
through lap five, heartbreak struck when the Swissman fell back with a rear flat tire.
“I was trying to force them to do mistakes, but then I was the only one that did a mistake and I had a flat unfortunately but that’s racing, when you risk, sometimes it’s a bit too much,” Schurter
Dascalu and Pidcock pressed on followed by Mathias Flückiger. Even though Schurter fell to 17th by the time he was exiting the tech zone with a new wheel, split times showed that he was
climbing faster than the lead group.
The multi-time Olympic champion regained the leaders as they were crossing the line with one lap to go. Dascalu put in an attack, and Pidcock locked to be struggling. However, Pidcock
chased hard as the Romanian threw down another attack on the subsequent dirt road climb.
Tailing Dascalu into the start/finish straight, Pidock used his explosive power to outsprint the Trek rider.
“I was just racing for the win,” Dascalu said. “Tried to make an attack on the last lap on the hard climb. I had a little gap. I was wishing to make a little bigger gap on the last lap because I knew Tom was stronger than me on the sprint. It was impossible, he was so strong at the end. I couldn’t follow his sprint.”
Schurter trailed by 30 seconds, and Anton Cooper and Alan Hatherly rounded out the Top 5.
“I just was racing full gas to try to catch one group after the other and I got in a good flow,” Schurter said. “I caught one after the other and then finally I saw the leading group, then I went
all out to catch them just into the last lap but then unfortunately for the last pedal I didn’t have enough energy anymore to battle for the win.
“I’m really happy about my performance, how I got back to the group and how I was feeling during the race.”
“I knew that if I could just hold the gap to Vlad in that last lap then [with] the headwind in the finish, I would be able to come past him,” Pidcock explained after the finish.
Pidcock mentioned bike problems, which the commentators speculated could have been related to his suspension, however Pidcock offered few details when asked about what was happening.
“It just wasn’t working like it’s supposed to,” he said.