Mountain

Tom Pidcock tops Christopher Blevins to win U23 cross-country title

Tom Pidcock outlasted American Christopher Blevins to win the Under-23 cross-country world title in Austria.

Just call him Mr. Rainbow.

On Friday British youngster Tom Pidcock added another world title to his growing list of palmares by winning the UCI Under-23 cross-country mountain biking world championships in Leogang, Austria. Pidcock, 21, already owns world titles in cyclocross (2017, 2019), road (2017), and —not to be laughed at — electric-assist mountain bike racing (2020).

The world title concluded Pidcock’s successful career in the Under-23 category.

“It’s super nice to finish on a high, and to end the season like that,” Pidcock said. “It’s more a relief than anything. People said I could have raced in the elite race this weekend, but I wanted to end my time as an under-23 on a high and I don’t need to look back now, I can just move up to the elites.”

Pidcock won a two-man duel with American Christopher Blevins on the muddy track at Leogang, which was churned into a slippery quagmire after October rainfall soaked the area.

The two sprung to an early lead on the opening short lap of the race and then rode together for the first larger lap on the course. Pidcock distanced Blevins on the second lap and then grew his lead through the second half of the race, crossing the line with a finishing time of 1:08:15.

Blevins finished in second, 1:52 later. It’s Blevins’s second silver medal at the UCI world championships — in 2018 he claimed second place in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

“It was a solid race all in all. I rode my own race from the start and Tom Pidcock was flying so I didn’t get swept up in trying to chase him early,” Blevins said. “I just settled into a rhythm and tried to stay smooth in the crazy [course] conditions. It’s really awesome that we’re even here racing and kudos to everyone who helped us get here. To top it off with a medal this week is an awesome feeling.”

The victory caps of an impressive final Under-23 for Pidcock, who has become one of the most versatile up-and-coming riders on the planet. Already a top talent in cyclocross, Pidock in 2019 won the Under-23 version of Paris-Roubaix and then took bronze in the Under-23 world championship road race. Having won the under-23 title in cyclocross, Pidcock stepped into the elite ranks for the 2019 UCI world championships race and finished second behind Mathieu van der Poel.

As 2020 rolled along Pidcock raced primarily on the road. Last month Pidcock won the overall at the Under-23 Giro d’Italia after claiming three stages, including the mountainous finale that went over the Passo Mortirolo. Later that month Picock announced he had signed a deal to ride with Ineos Grenadiers in 2021 after riding with the Trinity Racing development squad on the road.

Then, Pidcock won both Under-23 mountain-bike World Cups in the Czech Republic last week.

2020 UCI Under-23 Cross-country Mountain Bike World Championships

Men

  1. Tom Pidcock, Great Britain, 1:08:15
  2. Christopher Blevins, United States, at 1:52
  3. Joel Roth, Switzerland, at 3:05