Pidcock Triumphs in World Cup Comeback
The 8th round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup for Men Elite in Namur brought not only the usual spectacle, but also the return of Tom Pidcock. With tense expectations, people watched to see how the British rider should make his mark in this prestigious race.
Kevin Kuhn and Gerben Kuypers (Circus-Reuz-Technord) were the first into the field with Kuypers taking the lead in the first lap. All eyes were on Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers), who managed to work his way up into 6th position by mid-lap. With the leader Kuypers facing chain problems, it was Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions) who took over first position at the end of the first lap.
Nieuwenhuis pushed firmly on the first climb, while Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) and Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds) had completely missed their start. Pidcock joined the leaders, creating a leading group of four, later extended to five with the arrival of Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal). However, bike problems forced Pidcock to drop back on the slope.
In the third lap, Baloise Trek Lions Nieuwenhuis and Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions) took off, with Iserbyt in pursuit and Pidcock as the first chaser after Iserbyt’s fall. An impressive passage on the slope brought Pidcock closer to the leaders, leading to a provisional top three of Ronhaar, Nieuwenhuis and Pidcock.
Ronhaar managed to get free of teammate Nieuwenhuis, while Pidcock almost caught up. Ronhaar maintained his lead, and Pidcock moved up to second place. On the way to the slope, Pidcock put pressure on Nieuwenhuis, but the Dutch rider put up stiff resistance.
By the start of the fifth lap, Pidcock had halved the gap behind Ronhaar to 6 seconds. Ronhaar maintained his lead, while Pidcock impressed on the descents. Iserbyt moved up to fourth place in an enthralling battle.
Pidcock took the lead for the first time in the race in lap seven and steadily built up a lead. Despite a punctured rear tyre Pidcock remained faultless winning the race after an impressive duel with Pim Ronhaar. Joris Nieuwenhuis finished an impressive third.