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Tom Pidcock wants it all. And he wants it now.
The all-terrain ace has sketched out an ambitious 2022 schedule that stretches from the cyclocross world championships in January through the spring classics, Giro d’Italia, and the mountain bike worlds in August.
And Pidcock’s not planning on playing spectator in his second full elite and WorldTour season. Anything less than a long list of “W”s will be a disappointment.
“I want to go to ‘cross worlds to win,” the bullish Brit told VeloNews last week. “I want to win some classics next year, and the Giro is the grand tour I want to ride. Then I want to focus on mountain bike in the second part of the year and try and win mountain bike worlds.”
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- Pidcock wows Wout van Aert with Brabantse Pijl breakthrough
With a career goal of winning three world titles in one season, Pidcock sure doesn’t lack ambition.
It’s a huge feat that would see the 22-year-old become the first rider to take the multi-discipline sweep since Pauline Ferrand-Prévot harvested CX, road and MTB world championship victories across the 2014-2015 season.
The Olympic MTB gold medal, second-place at 2020 CX worlds, and sixth-place at this year’s road championships that headline Pidcock’s palmarès suggest the elusive triple is within his reach. It’s just a case of waiting for the stars – and the right courses – to align.
Should this year’s Aussie road worlds serve up a favorable parcours, Pidcock’s first tilt at the title triple is a go.
“I want to be world champion in all three, and yeh – all in the same year,” Pidcock said on a call last week. “I just need to wait for when all the courses suit me – next year, we still don’t know the course for road worlds, so we’ll have to see.”
Tom Pidcock long-range 2022 race schedule:
- December – January: Cyclocross racing
- January 30 – Cyclocross worlds, Fayetteville
- February – April: Cobbled and Ardennes classics
- May 6 – 29: Giro d’Italia
- June – July: Mountain bike racing
- August 28: Mountain bike worlds, Les Gets
- [TBA – September 25: Road worlds, Wollongong]
A year in the life of Tom Pidcock, 2022 edition:
1: Win the CX worlds
The Wollongong road worlds are still far out, in the autumn horizon, and the course remains a mystery. But the CX championships are coming quick, with Arkansas set to host the race in just seven weeks’ time.
Pidcock kick-started his 2021-2022 ‘cross season at Superprestige Boom on Sunday, finishing seventh despite being unsure of his form and still nursing a knee problem.
A heavy winter race schedule should see him hit top form by the time he’s in the States.
“I want to be in decent shape for Namur [December 19] and then over Christmas try and do some good results. I’ll go away in the new year for a training camp and then should come back [to cyclocross] for the last couple of weekends in the best shape,” he said.
“I’m looking to be peaking at the worlds – it’s not the perfect course for me, but I think it’s a good course for me. And yeh, I’m going there to win.”
2: Crush some classics
Pidcock’s rise through last spring’s classics was one of the stories of the 2021 season.
A full one-day program saw the Brit in a series of clashes with megastars Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel before he scored a breakout victory at Brabantse Pijl. It sets the stage for a further step upward in 2022.
“With a bit more experience I could have done more with the shape I had this year, but I think it went pretty well ready,” he said. “I learned a lot. I showed I got some good results and can be at the front. Next year, with more experience, I can go into races a bit differently.”
Pidcock will be carrying big ambition into 2022’s one-dayers, and he plans to be racing for the podium through the early cobblestone classics and the hilly Ardennes races.
After missing this October’s for-the-ages edition, Pidcock’s straining at the leash to make his senior debut at “Hell of the North.” But a reshuffle to the 2022 calendar that pushed Roubaix to one week later than normal means the pavé may need to wait one year.
“There will need to be some compromise because of the Giro, but I will do both cobbled and hilly classics. But now Roubaix is a different time I’m not sure if it will fit,” Pidcock said.
“But this year’s Roubaix was absolutely epic. I think I would have been a really good shape there. Obviously, those conditions suit me quite a lot. It was great watching it and it would have been equally, maybe even more great riding it.”
3: ‘Free role’ at the Giro
Pidcock rubber-stamped his status as one of the most exciting new talents on the one-day scene this season.
But his creds as a three-week racer at an elite level are still being tested.
A grand tour debut at this year’s Vuelta a España saw Pidcock on his last legs after a long season, and a nagging knee problem held him back. The 2022 Giro d’Italia could be a different prospect.
A spring of classics should see Pidcock on a roaring boil come May, meaning the world may get a better idea of whether he can repeat the stage-racing prowess he showed in the U23 and junior ranks.
Although Ineos Grenadiers is still a long way from confirming which of its many leaders will be racing for the pink jersey in Italy, it’s looking like Pidcock won’t be the rider fetching bottles.
“I’ll go into the Giro, I’ll be in top shape and I’ll have a free role,” he said. “And then we’ll just see how it goes.”
4: A world title triple?
A summer on the mountain bike with the aim of adding a rainbow jersey to his Olympic gold comes next.
And the Wollongong road worlds? Whatever the course serves up, there’s a sense Pidcock is in with a chance.