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Despite having not yet signed a contract extension at Ineos Grenadiers there appears to be growing momentum behind Tom Pidcock’s chances of riding his maiden Tour de France in 2022.
The British rider remains out of contract for 2023 with Bora-Hansgrohe leading a pack of teams chasing after the Olympic mountain bike champion.
Last month VeloNews broke the news that Pidcock was out of contract and that the British squad was desperate to tie down their all-important star. At the time one source indicated that a deal was as close as to 99 percent sealed, however, a contract has not yet been signed with Deputy Team Principal, Rod Ellingworth, stating that the situation is still being resolved.
The market for Pidcock seems to be around the four to five million Euro mark per season, with that number potentially rising over the coming years based on performances and success. VeloNews understands, however, that an offer of a contract extension from Ineos has been made and that Pidcock is likely to put pen to paper in the next fortnight.
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“I’m not really going to talk about it, and I’ve said that to everyone because it’s their careers and I don’t want to be talking ifs and buts. When things are done we can confirm them. I know that there’s speculation and everyone is pushing us but with Tom you’d have to speak to his agent. It’s ongoing, it’s ongoing. I think that there are several teams…I’m sure it’s the same for a few of these guys. They’ll always have teams pestering them,” Ellingworth said.
While the contract situation rumbles on there is increased noise around Pidcock making his Tour de France debut in the summer. According to Ellingworth, the contract negotiations and the Tour de France option are totally unrelated but he admitted that Pidcock could switch from his original plan to race the Giro d’Italia and instead target the Tour de France.
“It’s not confirmed yet. For Tom, it was about concentrating on the cyclocross worlds and then in the next month seeing. He’s had a big winter so we just need to be a bit careful with him and see where we get to,” Ellingworth added.
For the first time, Ineos confirmed that Pidcock was at the stage in his career where a Tour de France was possible. The rider made his grand tour debut in the Vuelta a Espana last year and put in a number of strong rides before using that form to finish sixth in the UCI world road championships, in Belgium.
“I think he’s ready to do the Tour,” Ellingworth told VeloNews.
“I don’t see why not. It would be exciting to see him in the Tour. The actual lines up behind the leaders are long lists and it’s about putting the riders in at the right time. Things always change. I think he’s open to the idea. It’s a long way to go and he’s really concentrating on this block.”
“I’m pretty sure that he has the Tour de France in his sights to ride sooner rather than later. So why would you not? For now, though, the focus is on the classics and after that, there will be a little pause and then think about what’s next.”
Ellingworth pointed to the example set by Egan Bernal. The Colombian wasn’t originally set to race the Tour de France during his debut season with the squad in 2018 but finished second in the Tour de Romandie and winning the Tour of California helped earn the climber a spot. He would go on to help Geraint Thomas win and Chris Froome finish third in the race.
“The year that Egan Bernal did his first Tour de France he wasn’t even on the roster until two weeks before the Tour. It wasn’t like he was preparing for it for six months. He rose to that level. It’s like Luke Plapp, the way he rode at the UAE Tour. He was up there in a group of six or seven world-class climbers. If you haven’t got the legs you can’t do that. He’s now riding Catalunya now, even though he wasn’t originally down for that. We don’t believe in holding these guys back. Who knows he could ride the Tour.”