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Tom Pidcock nets third in Dwars door Vlaanderen after ‘cat and mouse’ finale

‘I think Stefan Küng just hesitated a bit. He was the guy who should have gone, I guess. That was it,’ says Ineos leader.

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Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) secured the best result of his season so far with third place in a thrilling edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

The British rider was part of several key moves in the race and made it into the final selection of eight riders. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) latched on to a late move from Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) before outsprinting the Jumbo rider for the win, while Pidcock beat the remnants of the break to secure his first podium of the season.

The result was a major step in the right direction for Pidcock who came into the race with uncertain form. After a strong start to the year in ‘opening weekend’ the world cyclocross champion picked up a stomach virus on the eve of Strade Bianche. He was forced to miss the race. At Milan-San Remo, he was dropped with around 40km to go.

According to Pidcock and his coaching team, he struggled to sustain energy levels after racing for more than 200km, but he has slowly improved over the last fortnight and played a major role in Wednesday’s race. He and teammate Ben Turner both made the winning split and the signs for Ineos Grenadiers are positive ahead of Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

“It was cat and mouse in the end. That was the last move when the elastic snapped. Every other move someone closed it and just that time I think Stefan Kung just hesitated a bit. He was the guy who should have gone, I guess. That was it. Ben pulled and I got the sprint. I’m happy, and it’s a massive improvement from Sunday,” Pidcock said at the finish.

Pidcock was asked about his improving form and the comparisons between Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders.

“I think that it’s a similar race in that it will be full gas like this but another 100km added on. It will be another long, hard day but hopefully, if I have the legs like today, then I’ll be happy with that.”

At the start of the race, Pidcock said that he had overcome most of the health issues he had earlier this spring, and hopes to be hitting peak form for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and the Ardennes classic next month.

“The opening weekend I was not really mentally there, to be honest. I didn’t race 100 percent like I could have,” Pidcock said. “Now it’s about getting back into the shape that I know I can be, and hopefully I can be competitive at Flanders, also in the Ardennes.

“I am not 100 percent and I am working towards getting back where I need to be. Today I was give 100 percent to see where I am at. I did the same at Gent-Wevelgem. I was pretty far out, that’s clear. I think I need more racing.

“It depends how long it takes me to get on top. I hope to be in the final in Flanders and help the others.”