As he hit the Molenberg 160 kilometres into his first Classic as a Grenadier, Tom Pidcock knew he was well positioned, but just a few wheels too far back.
An elite group of nine riders went clear, swept up the break, and looked dangerous. But Pidcock felt strong, and a couple of kilometres later, he set off in pursuit. He bridged the gap and in the process, confirmed to himself that he had better form than expected.
“All of the strongest guys were there,” he explained. “I was well positioned into the climb before that group went, but just probably 10 wheels too far back. I stayed calm, I knew there was no point panicking. Bora chased for a bit, attacked, and it didn’t go anywhere, so me and [Kevin] Geniets, went across. You needed to be in that group really.
It bodes well and gives me a lot of confidence. I hope I can go into Strade with some good form.
“It bodes well and gives me a lot of confidence. Tomorrow is more likely to be a sprint but we’re looking forward to it. I’m going into it with a much more positive mindset than I did today and I hope I can then go into Strade with some good form.”
Eventually a hugely reduced peloton did reabsorb the group, but it wasn’t without a fight. Tom was able to slot back in and help position teammate and long-time friend Ethan Hayter for the sprint, but the Brit was caught up in a tough crash with 1.5km to go.
“Ethan and I raced a lot when we were young so we know each other really well. I'm 100% sure he would have been on the podium if he hadn’t have crashed.”