Tom Pidcock has added his name to the growing list of big-name riders who will not ride the UCI Road World Championships in Australia.
“I’ve pulled out,” the Ineos Grenadiers rider told Cyclingnews after the finish of stage 1 of the Tour of Britain.
“Mentally, I couldn’t hack another build-up to Worlds. It’s all the way in Australia. If I want to target road Worlds I need to be 100%. I was just dreaming of winning mountain bike Worlds, so when that didn’t happen, I was a bit lost. Then trying to go and win road Worlds, to me, would have been the hardest.”
Pidcock confirmed that he was originally on the Great Britain long list to race in Wollongong. The final selection has not been announced by British Cycling but Fred Wright and Ethan Hayter are expected to be selected as protected riders.
The Yorkshireman has struggled to get over his performance at Les Gets a week ago easily. He crashed on the penultimate lap before finishing fourth, as veteran Nino Schurter took the rainbow jersey.
“I had a difficult week, honestly,” he said.
“It was pretty tough because I had prepared so well and everything seemed to be just going wrong. First, before the race and then in the race. It didn’t matter what I did or how hard I tried to control things or get them back on track, something else went wrong. But then coming here, I felt more positive about racing.”
The 23-year-old Yorkshireman is one of the favourites to win the Tour of Britain.
On the race’s opening stage, his first road race since the Tour de France and his stage win at L’Alpe d’Huez, he sprinted to fifth place on the uphill finish at Glenshee Ski Centre in Scotland. Ineos Grenadiers teammate Omar Fraile finishing second to Corbin Strong (Israel-Premier Tech).
Pidcock was pictured on TV race coverage coming back through the convoy with six kilometres to go.
“I needed a pee,” he explained. “I was supposed to be on Omar’s wheel, that would have been ideal, then maybe I would have won. A bit too relaxed, really.
“It was a big headwind, I just made a mistake and didn’t go to the front early enough. The Tour was my last race, the depth meant there’d be a lot of trains going up this massive road, here it just strung out.
“I think we can try and win the race,” he said of his Tour of Britain ambitions. Asked if that meant him personally, he clarified: “I think I can win the race, but we also have some cards to play as well.”
Alongside him and Fraile, Ineos Grenadiers have former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, American talent Magnus Sheffield, Andrey Amador and retiring Richie Porte in attendance.
After a season that included his debut Tour de France and the European Mountain Bike Championships, Pidcock indicated that he expects the Tour of Britain to be his last road race before a break and his cyclo-cross season.
“We need to make our plans for that, I’m not sure. There’s some uncertainty about the World Cup [race] in Britain, but that’s obviously one big goal if that happens.”
Meanwhile, he is “undecided” about defending his rainbow jersey at the World Championships in the Netherlands in February.
“I want to prepare properly for the Classics. I don’t know how much Hoogerheide suits me, it seems to be getting dryer and faster every year. If I’m going to beat Wout [van Aert] and Mathieu [van der Poel], it needs to be a good course.”
But in my head, I want to do less ‘cross – I don’t want to do the full ‘cross season, then road, then Tour and then Worlds, you know? It drags on.
“So I want to be a bit more selective: whether that’s the first part of the season, with the European Championships and the World Cup in the UK, or the end of season with the Worlds, I don’t know yet.”