Pidcock MTB race programme announced

18 Mar 2021

Pidcock MTB race programme announced

Related riders

The INEOS Grenadiers will support Tom Pidcock in the mountain bike discipline during 2021 as he steps up to the elite level.

While Pidcock has enjoyed a strong start to his professional road career with the INEOS Grenadiers, the young Brit has also been busy preparing for another key goal this year – competing on the mountain bike, with the hope of competing at his first Olympic Games.
Pidcock counts himself amongst a new generation of exciting multi-discipline riders, and holds world titles at under-23 or junior level on the road in addition to mountain biking and cyclo-cross.
The 21 year old will look to dovetail his road and mountain bike commitments in the lead-up to a possible appearance at the Tokyo Games in July, with his first mountain bike race scheduled for May 1.
Testing is already under way, with Pidcock and Coach Kurt Bogaerts supported by the team across a four-day test session in Catalunya, Spain – looking at equipment options for the coming season. It is an exciting and new challenge for the team, stepping up with Tom to the elite level of mountain biking.
Putting Tom Pidcock to the test

Putting Tom Pidcock to the test

We caught up with Bogaerts, Pidcock’s MTB Coach, to get the low down on the upcoming mountain bike programme and the objectives leading into the summer.
Laying out the race programme, he explained: “Tom is set to start his MTB season at a one-day race in Leukerbad in Switzerland. That initial race is all about the transition back from the road to the mountain bike. Then he’ll move on to the two World Cups in Albstadt and Nove Mesto. At that point he will take a break before heading to the third round of the World Cup in Leogang. Then at that point we’ll keep our options open following the first block of MTB racing.
“The gridding is so key in this discipline. At the first World Cup he’ll start really far behind – around place 92 on the grid. If he does well in Albstadt, if he can achieve a top-16 result, that would allow him into the short track qualifying race for the next World Cup round at Novo Meste. That race will help him set his grid position, and if he can get to that point the situation is essentially in his own hands. It’s all about moving up that grid – so the first World Cup of the year will be a key race to start off and get a good result.” 

In addition to getting towards the front of a highly competitive MTB grid, Pidcock will also be looking to accumulate points which will help go towards his Olympic aspirations. A world champion at under-23 level in MTB and e-MTB, Pidcock starts his pro career looking to work his way upwards.
Bogaerts continued: “Once Tom gets through that initial phase of racing all his points come into play. Tom has accumulated a lot of points in the under-23 ranks that don’t count for anything at the moment. It’s his first year racing at the elite level in MTB, so all his points going forward will be key looking ahead to the Olympics.”

Naturally after such a strong start to his WorldTour road career, in addition to regular podiums in elite cyclo-cross, expectations will be high for Pidcock’s foray into MTB. 
Even following a string of great performances, Bogaerts is still keen to stress that Pidcock is still finding his way at the elite level, and 2021 is very much still a year of learning the ropes across multiple formats, in addition to a new team environment.
“I give him a lot of credit,” he added. “He’s showed that he’s a very good bike rider and at Strade he was up there in the lead group at that elite level. His Opening Weekend was also really promising. This year is really a transition year, looking to step up and perform at the elite level on both the road and in mountain biking. It’s complex what we’re trying to achieve but it’s also quite unique with all the disciplines. Tom is a very ambitious guy, and all his data and everything that we’ve seen shows that he can go for results. 
“The mountain bike gridding is very important and we need to start from the back. The first races will be tough potentially, but if you have a bit of luck you can move quite quickly to the front, then things open up. At the moment we don’t have everything in our own hands, but if we can do all the controllables right then we can be positive.
“We are putting a unique concept together with the bike and all the equipment. It’s a massive team to be a part of and we are really on an adventure together. Tom is stepping up from a smaller team environment and it’s a great feeling working alongside [Coach] Conor (Taylor), [Director of Racing] Rod (Ellingworth) and Sir Dave Brailsford.”