No junior rider has garnered quite the same level of attention as young Yorkshireman Tom Pidcock did in 2017, with more wins than we have space here to accommodate, including multiple CX races, Paris-Roubaix Juniors, the Junior Tour of Wales, and UCI World Championship titles in both CX and individual time trial.
Having graduated to the U23 category, the stellar 18-year- old is signed to two teams for 2018, riding for the Belgian Telenet-Fidea Lions in cyclocross and Team Wiggins on the road.
As the cyclocross season draws to a close, let’s take a look at everything we love about Pidders and what to look forward to this year:
Everyone loves a winner, but the ones whose faces show every pedal stroke, gasp for breath and fall to the ground even as they cross the line first, gain way more fans. Tom Pidcock, fondly known as ‘Pidders’, is Yorkshire born and bred, and characteristically strong and stubborn. Cyclocross is a sport of constant effort, risk and unpredictability, with races rarely longer than an hour.
The best riders have to develop a mental resilience as well as immense physical prowess, so they can deal with mechanical difficulties or hard falls which are all part of the game.
Pidcock is no stranger to the dirt, as this photo shows, but what matters is that he was able to get up and battle back to win the bronze medal.
Showboating is not always a popular characteristic in a sportsman, but we’ve learned to love it in young Pidders. Bowing at the finish, carrying his bike over the line, winning with his favourite Superman stunt; all are demonstrations of a rider’s thrill and enjoyment of the sport he is making into a career.
He loves to perform, and that’s just what we want from cycling, so long may it continue!
With his cyclocross outfit, Telenet-Fidea Lions, Pidcock rides a Trek Boone in a mud-loving bright yellow. The Boone is the American manufacturer’s flagship cyclocross model complete with a 600 series OCLV carbon frame, dampening IsoSpeed Decouplers at front and rear and reliable disc brakes for supreme responsiveness on the typically gnarly cyclocross courses.
Also in their cyclocross range is the versatile Crockett with a robust Alpha Aluminium frame, flat mount disc brakes and ample spacing for wide tyres and mudguards if the mood takes you.
Is there anything he can’t do?
Tom Pidcock has won at the highest possible level in his age category in road events, as well as cyclocross and even on the track. Super-fast and a formidable bike handler, he thrives in the worst conditions on the worst terrain.
Take Round 9 of the Tour Series 2017 which took place on a slimy central Durham course, complete with slick corners, sharp climbs and cobbles.
Despite lining up alongside some of the biggest names on the domestic racing scene, the small form of Pidders made the crash-infested route look easy, eventually taking a stunning solo win before the soaked but roaring crowds.
With a palmarès that some top-level pros would kill for, Tom Pidcock is already a proven champion with a character reminiscent of another incredible bike handler, Peter Sagan. Pidders struck gold at the U23 CX National Championships last weekend, adding to his overall U23 World Cup title.
Last year, he managed to top the podium at the Junior CX World Championships, a race where Team GB achieved a rare clean sweep of the medals. Keep an eye out on the first weekend of February when Pidcock will line up for his first U23 World Championship race before joining Team Wiggins on the road.
Can the 18-year- old snatch gold?
Tom Pidcock carries a huge weight of expectation on his narrow shoulders as the whole of Yorkshire and the nation waits in anticipation of what he might go on to achieve.
Prodigal sons have stumbled under that weight before, but we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this young rider will only get stronger.