Tokyo 2020 - Team GB's Olympic hero Tom Pidcock is a cycling superstar in the making
Tom Pidcock already has an Olympic gold medal to his name at the age of 21. But mountain biking is far from the total of the Leeds lad's abilities, with his palmares already showing enormous potential on the road, in time trials and in cyclo-cross. And Ineos Grenadiers chief Dave Brailsford, who signed Pidcock earlier this year, has backed the youngster to one day win the Tour de France.
'He joins the greats!' - Pidcock celebrates gold with mountain bike heroics
Tom Pidcock’s gold-medal performance was as notable for its calmness as it was for its brilliance.
The 21-year-old rode to gold in the men’s mountain bike cross-country race at the Tokyo Olympic Games in part of what has been coined 'Magic Monday' for Team GB. But part of what made Pidcock's win so spectacular was with the cool and composed manner in which he rode to victory, holding off the challenges of vastly more experienced riders to take a richly-deserved crown.
Pidcock's medal is Britain's first in cross-country mountain biking at an Olympic Games. But part of what makes Pidcock so special is that he has multiple strings to his cycling bow.
The enormous potential of the youngster from Leeds has been an open secret in cycling circles for some time. But by winning an Olympic gold medal he is no longer a prospect. He is front and centre of British Cycling's success, and he has the ability to remain there for the next decade and beyond.
'It's not real!' - Pidcock stunned after 'crazy' gold medal in mountain bike
Pidcock has a huge reputation in mountain biking, but is also a rising talent in cyclo-cross and an impressive road cyclist.
In fact, his ability on the road is so clear that he joined Ineos Grenadiers earlier this year, securing his first professional win by beating Wout van Aert and Matteo Trentin to victory in Brabantse Pijl.
And while that one-day classic may not be one of cycling’s gold-standard events, it still featured a world-class field, with the two riders he beat to the line possessing nine Tour de France stage wins between them.
Tom Pidcock sees off big guns to secure massive victory for Team Ineos
One of the factors that makes the 21-year-old such a phenomenon is his bike handling. Even when he “eased back” in the final laps of Monday’s course, such was his control that he was still able to stretch his lead over closest challenger Mathias Fluckiger.
And, in an interview earlier this year with Matt Stephens, he says that confidence on the bike is something he has developed over his whole life.
“I’ve ridden a bike every day since I was about - well, not every day, but since I was about four," he said.
"I rode to school every day, I’ve just become very confident with riding a bike, and different bikes and doing different things.
Nothing’s really out of my comfort zone, I’d say… unless you asked me to do a back-flip.
So maybe that’s BMX out then, but Pidcock has shown he can be competitive right across the rest of the sport.
'It never looked in doubt' - Wiggins hails Pidcock after mountain bike gold
On the road Pidcock can climb, he can sprint, he can time-trial, he can do just about anything. On paper he is Britain’s answer to Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel – and those are two riders everybody in the world would relish being compared to.
Eurosport’s Bradley Wiggins revealed in the live broadcast that Ineos chief Dave Brailsford has even earmarked Pidcock as his main project as a future winner of the Tour de France.
But one of the big challenges for a youngster with so much talent as Pidcock will be to decide which direction to go in at which point.
For now he hopes to be able to juggle all of those aspirations. And it’s hard not to agree with him, particularly as he will still be just 24 when the next Olympics come around.
"Next year I want to go to the Worlds, the World Mountain Bike Championships that is," he told Wiggins after Monday’s Tokyo triumph.
"And next Olympics I want to do road and mountain bike… and time trial too if they want!"
Tom Pidcock's career achievements to-date
Brabantse Pijl winner (2021)
World Junior Time Trial Champion (2017)
World Under-23 road race bronze medallist (2019)
Mountain Bike racing
Olympic Champion (Tokyo 2020)
World Under-23 Champion (2020)
E-MTB Champion (2020)
World silver medallist (2020)
World Junior Champion (2017)
World Under-23 Champion (2019)
European Junior Champion (2016)
European Under-23 Champion (2018)
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