Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) admits he is surprised with his progress after finishing third at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday.
The 21-year-old Brit was part of a swelling chase group that successfully hauled in a five-man breakaway, fronted by Mathieu van der Poel (Felix-Alpecin), inside the final two kilometres.
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) swept to victory in the ensuing sprint ahead of Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie) and Pidcock.
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“I’m not supposed to be at the front yet. I didn’t expect that really. It’s nice and I think I’ve got quite a lot to build on," said Pidcock.
“I haven’t really had a training block yet so if I get a training block in after Strade [Bianche, on March 6] hopefully we can build on this.”
Highlights: Pedersen wins after Van der Poel lights up race
Pidcock’s podium was even more remarkable given he had gone on the attack several times at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad just 24 hours previous.
“It gives me quite a lot of confidence," he said.
“Even today I was not good, but I kept fighting… and then I end up on the podium with not good legs.
“Play your cards right and anything can happen."
OUR VIEW - 'No question he can deliver results on elite circuit'
Eurosport cycling expert Tom Owen says Pidcock could be part of a bright future for British classics riding, with Jake Stewart, Ethan Hayter and Anna Henderson all impressing too on Opening Weekend.
"Pidcock's the multi-talented winner of basically every junior and under-23 race going, a name that has been bandied about for what already feels like a decade. There has never been any question over his talent, but now, there is also no question of whether he can deliver results in a men's elite road race.
"The Yorkshireman was third at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and managed 55th at Omloop after what looked like a kamikaze attempt to bridge across to the leading group in the middle part of Saturday's race. The move was incredibly gutsy, required Pidcock to dig enormously deep, and eventually proved successful. He went on to attack the lead group several more times before eventually running out of gas. Whether he could have done better in the final of Omloop if he hadn't made quite so many gutsy moves early on is impossible to say.
"What we do know is that his Omloop exploits did not diminish his performance at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne one iota. The British rider was perhaps just slightly too eager in the final sprint, putting his nose in the wind a few seconds too soon, but he rode the preceding 196 kilometres faultlessly."
Head here to read Tom Owen's full piece on why it's time for British one-day fans to get excited...
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