Vuelta a Espana - Stage 9 » Villaviciosa › Les Praeres. Nava, 171.4km UCI Mountain Bike World Championships - Olympic Cross Country Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France, 254.8km
The Spanish champion dug deep and put in a controlled ride on the steep Les Praeres final climb, finishing amongst his general classification peers in ninth and holding position at the second rest day.
The Grenadier sits two minutes and 33 seconds back on leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step – AlphaVinyl) as the Belgian increased his lead on the final climb.
Tao Geoghegan Hart had been sitting fifth overnight but was unlucky to drop time following a crash on the approach to the finale. The Brit now sits 12th overall (+5:51), while Pavel Sivakov climbed back inside the top 10 overall, now 10th at 5:39.
Dylan van Baarle made sure the team had representation the day’s nine-man break, which would produce the stage victor in Louis Meintjes (Intermarche-Wanty). Van Baarle held on for 16th on the day.
- Carlos Rodriguez
"It was a pretty tough finish, I think more than I expected. I started very strong early on the climb, and then the climb just felt like it was never going to end. We lost valuable time to Remco, but we were also very close to our other rivals.
"I went from empty to feeling good to feeling empty again. We had to adjust a bit today, and I didn't go at the optimal pace because I was too busy at the beginning wanting to go with the best. That made me push more than was necessary, but I’m happy to have stayed with them and now we look towards the second week.
"We don't know how far we can go [in the general classification], but we have to be ambitious and do our best. Being on the podium in a Grand Tour would be a dream come true… but if I crash and come last I also have to be happy, as long as I have given it everything I have and come out of it unscathed.
"Things are going well. Today Tao [Geoghegan Hart] was unlucky, taking a fall. I hope he recovers well, that not much damage has been done. Remco Evenepoel is quite a few steps above the rest. But we all have to continue on, and just do the best we can, even if he is on another level.
"Those four kilometres up to Les Praeres were crazy hard, but at least we had a lot of fans to support us which makes the climb that bit more enjoyable."
The Brit put in a superb battling ride, coming from deep within the pack and an early 36th place, all the way through to lead the race by the end of lap three.
Part of a group of four heading into the closing stages, the Grenadier crashed on the penultimate lap which forced a wheel change next time past the pits. Pidcock never gave up and mounted a late charge for a medal but was eventually forced to concede, finishing fourth, 1:29 back on victor Nino Schurter.