Cycling polymath Tom Pidcock takes victory on the iconic Alpe D'Huez mountain stage in his first Tour de France
Is there any kind of riding Tom Pidcock can’t excel at? After a meteoric upward trajectory in cyclocross and road cycling, multiple wins and an Olympic title in cross-country mountain biking, he now adds a stage win at the biggest road cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, and to cap it all it’s his first time racing the iconic event.
Stage 12 – Briancon to Alpe D’Huez
The stage that Pidcock won on is one of the all-time classics. For anyone who’s been mountain biking in Alpe D’Huez, or has done the Megavalanche which is raced there, you’ll know all about the long switchback road that takes you from valley bottom up to the resort town. That climb is no joke, and many of the most memorable moments of the Tour de France have had their backdrop there. So to win on that climb is significant.
Whether or not you follow the Tour de France, one thing was immediately obvious from the thrilling footage from Stage 12, and that’s Pidcock’s daredevil descending. Riders clock up incredible speeds on those skinny little tyres, and ability to descend quickly is a key skill.
It was a decisive element for Pidcock’s win. Thanks to his frankly insane downhill skills, Pidcock and the leading group had an advantage of over 6 seconds on the peloton before the final climb up to Alpe D’Huez. Then Pidcock climbed like a fiend, dropping all his chasers one by one until he soloed his way to victory for the last 7.5km.
Dare we speculate that Pidcock’s off-road skills, both via cyclocross and cross-country, helped with the downhill element?
One more title for Pidcock’s crammed medal shelf
Call him a polymath or multiple-threat, one moniker that certainly doesn’t fit Pidcock is ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. Master of all is beginning to look like a more appropriate title.
The Yorkshire-born rider really got into cycling at the iconic Herne Hill Velodrome near London, UK, and his talent and competitive instinct were evident from a young age. As a Youth and U23 rider he clocked up a whole heap of titles across road, cyclocross, cross-country MTB and track, including national and World wins, becoming Junior World Champion in Cyclocross in 2016 and taking the win at the U23 of the Giro D’Italia in 2020.
And what about MTB? Anyone who’s been following the increasingly exciting UCI XC World Cup series can’t help but have watched Pidcock’s impressive performances over the last few years. In 2020 (yes, just after finishing that road race in Italy) he won both the men’s U23 races in the back-to-back Nove Mesto round of the UCI XC World Cup, then became U23 XC MTB World Champion.
And it doesn’t stop there. More elite-level World Cup wins, and let’s not forget gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Then another World Championship title in 2022 when he became the first British rider to win the UCI Cyclocross World Championships. Phew!
Have we listed all of Pidcock’s achievements to date? No. Are there more to come? We’d say that’s a big yes. And we think there’s plenty more mountain biking medals to come as part of that. Pidcock has claimed that he was ‘born to mountain bike‘ and it’s something he’s enjoyed since childhood.
In the words of Bachman-Tuner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothing yet.