Before the start of the Tour of Britain, I had the chance to sit down with Tom Pidcock and have a little chat about the season so far, his first 2.HC race and what lies ahead for the future.
JT: This has been your first season racing at u23 level, obviously you’ve raced at elite level before in crits and cyclocross but this has been your first chance to ride the U23 races on the continent, how has that been?
TP: It’s been quite hard, especially though because I’ve not been taking it absolutely 100% seriously – cross is still the focus after all – the races have been really tough though so it’s been difficult for me to be competitive, so it’s been a bit of a shock.
JT: With the Tour of Britain coming up, you’ve not really raced at this level, aside from perhaps the Tour of Yorkshire, or a race of this length. How are you feeling about it and what are your expectations?
TP: It’s difficult to have any expectations until I’ve ridden it, I can’t go out and say that I’m going to win a stage, until I’ve really experienced the racing. I just know it’s going to be really hard – 8 days is a long time for me
JT: With Team Wiggins having such a late call up, less than a week before the start of the race (and 2 days before this interview), have you had chance to have a real look at any of the stages, do any of them stand out at all?
TP: I have looked a little bit yeah but not much – the one that really stands out is the TTT, it’s quite a palava having to get everyone’s TT kit in the same place at such short notice. I guess we’ll just see how it goes, I’m really looking forward to it though.
JT: A lot of riders will be heading to the Tour of Britain with an aim to prepare the legs for the World Championships in Innsbruck later in the month. Will you be one of those riders?
TP: I won’t be riding the worlds no, so the Tour of Britain is going to mark the end of my road season. There’s going to be some pretty strong riders yeah, G (Geraint Thomas) and Froome and the like. I don’t know if that’s cos they’re targeting the worlds or just for public relations though.
JT: So what does the rest of the calendar look like then, what comes next after the ToB. Will you be heading to the States for the start of the Cyclocross season?
TP: I won’t be heading to the states no, my season starts with the Superprestige at Gieten, in Holland, in the middle of October. I’ll be spending most of my time in Belgium like last year, the team will be based there. I might be back for the first round of the National Trophy in Derby, but I might not – we’ll have to see closer to the time I guess! I’ll be back for the national champs though of course, but the season is so short that there’s always clashes with races in Belgium and the UK. It’s easier for me to stay over there.
JT: There has been a lot of negative press surrounding British Cycling over the last couple of years, so it’s fantastic to see some positivity in that there’s a new British team based around 3 riders. What’s it like to be at the forefront of such an exciting time in British Cyclocross?
TP: It’s pretty cool isn’t it? Yeah, it’s looking like a good set up. I think it’s just us three (Tom, Dan Tullett and Emily Wadsworth), there might be someone else too but I’m not sure yet. It feels a bit like a responsibility, being at the forefront. Hopefully it will inspire a few more people over here to ride cross, that’s what’s important isn’t it.
JT: What else can you tell us about this team then.. do you know what bike you’ll be on? What details can you share?
TP: I know yeah, I can’t say yet though! I don’t actually know who the title sponsor is yet though (laughs), but yeah it will be sorted in time. It is quite late I know but it’ll be fine.
JT: But obviously it must have taken something pretty special for you to leave Telenet Fidea. Are you happy with how things are turning out so far?
TP: Yeah it is. I wanted to change things anyway, but yeah this is the best way to do it. There were other options of course, but this was the best way to get what I wanted. I wanted to be in control of everything really, you know?
JT: This season we’ve seen Stevie Williams, Mark Donovan, Ethan Hayter and most recently Harry Tanfield all get a chance to step up to WorldTour level (Stevie and Harry to Bahrain Merida and Katusha Alpecin next year, Mark and Ethan with Team Sky as Stagiares). I guess it’s not a case of if, but when – when would you be looking to make that jump to the top level on the road?
TP: Yeah in 2020 – Next year I’ll be focusing on the Worlds in Yorkshire, then another cross season, but after that I’ll be looking to step it up
JT: Is there a team that catches your eye yet, have you looked at which set up might be best for you?
TP: I have yeah – it’s Sky isn’t it. Yeah, it’s a British team. There’s some negative press but I think that’s jealousy. They’re the best team aren’t they. They’ve got a big budget but so do other teams, UAE and Katusha are paying people loads. There are other good teams of course, Trek are obviously good, Quickstep as well, very successful. They’re not British though, it’s a different place to be isn’t it and it doesn’t really feel right. I’ve come through the BC system with their academy and Team Wiggins so it just seems right.
JT: Ok so last question. Any rider in the world, present or past, who you’d want to ride with, who would it be?
TP: Ahh that’s a difficult one isn’t it? (Laughs) Yeah, I’d say Mathieu van der Poel.
JT: That would be a lethal combination wouldn’t it?
TP: Yeah, not just cos of the way that he rides though, or cos he’s the best. I think we’re into a few of the same things, we both like dirt jumping and both into cars and that, but yeah he’s pretty impressive.
I’d like to thank Tom and his family for giving me the opportunity to have a chat with him and wish him all the best for the upcoming season. Hopefully we’ll be able to hear more from him later in the year.