Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) got his senior mountain bike career off to a perfect start with a dominant victory in the one-day Swiss Bike Cup race in Leukerbad.
Just 10 days after the 21-year-old finished sixth in La Fleche Wallonne the talented youngster began his first elite mountain bike campaign in style.
Starting on the front row, the Ineos Grenadiers rider monitored the leading group on the opening lap of the tough circuit which included a long gravel climb and a quick descent in Leukerbad.
On the second time up the climb, Pidcock made his move, immediately distancing the chasers and he pulled out a lead of 32 seconds at the end of the second of seven laps.
With laps taking around 10 minutes to complete, by the 45-minutes mark the flying British rider started lapping his competitors.
Leading the chase behind Pidcock was Frenchman Titouan Carod (Absolute-Absalon-BMC) who finished third in last year’s mountain bike World Championships.
However, he had no response to the power of Pidcock and finished over three minutes back while Sean Fincham (Norco Factory Team) took third.
With one of Pidcock’s key goals being competing for Great Britain in this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games in August, this was his first stage in chasing qualification points.
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Despite winning the under-23 cross country mountain bike World Championships last season his ranking points did not carry into the senior ranks.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider will face a tough test when he continues his pursuit of Olympics qualification in the opening rounds of the UCI World Cup in Albstadt next Sunday (May 9) and then Nove Mesto Na Morave the following weekend.
The youngster is expected to start at around 92nd place on the grid in the World Cup opener due to his lack of senior ranking points last season.
“It was a good race, I felt really good and I had good fun in my first mountain bike race this year,” said Pidcock after securing the win.
“It’s a good course, suited me very well with the climb, and I came here in preparation for the World Cup and to do a race before, and dial in different points for the team."
“It’s the first mountain bike race for the team so that was one of the reasons (for racing in Leukerbad).
“In Albstadt my start position is going to be 90 or something, so my goal is top-16 so I can start the short track event in Nove Mesto Na Morave.”
Rival in the Classics and cyclo-cross season, Mathieu van der Poel, is also targeting a mountain bike Olympic Games gold medal and will again meet Pidcock after the Dutchman stated he would ride three World Cup rounds, with four rounds currently scheduled before the Olympic Games.