With “The Big Three” down to just one, Brit Tom Pidcock took exactly half the race to show his pre-race favorite status was well-deserved.
With the two winners of the last seven Elite Men’s World Championships staying home in Europe, Pidcock added to his multi-discipline stardom with a dominant ride in Fayetteville.
Pidcock Tolerates Belgian Teamwork
Pidcock remained patient for four laps as the Belgians took turns attacking and holding him up.
Belgian Toon Aerts was the first to attack the major climb, hoping to tax Pidcock and Van der Haar’s legs.
France’s Clement Venturini also got into the mix, hitting the front and making casual fans and race favorites wonder who was pushing the pace.
Laurens Sweeck took his turn, and then Michael Vanthourenhout, but regardless of who was at the front, Pidcock looked comfortable and content to follow wheels.
“It was a really fast race, we tried in the beginning with the team to get a little gap, to push Pidcock and Van der Haar to the front,” Eli Iserbyt explained of his team’s plan. “But I saw that Pidcock was riding at a really easy pace.”
Heading into the fifth of nine laps, Pidcock surged while Iserbyt sat in fourth. Belgians Laurens Sweeck and Michael Vanthourenhout couldn’t match the pace, and Iserbyt was left to chase on his own.
Heading down the finishing straight to start the fifth lap, Pidcock already had six seconds over Iserbyt. Within a lap, it was over twenty.
“We saw on his big sprint up the hill it was not possible to follow,” Iserbyt admitted. “I tried for a lap and then I saw I couldn’t close the gap and so I was riding for second or third place.”
The race for the rainbow jersey was over, and the only question left was who might win silver and bronze.
Van der Haar attacked the major climb on the third-to-last lap, and Iserbyt followed and the race for silver was on. Van der Haar wanted to go earlier, but Venturini’s attacks kept him gasping.
“Today was the first couple of laps it was a bit difficult to stay in position,” Van der Haar said. “The moment Pidcock went, I was way too far back. From that moment on, I decided to go for place, second or third. Pidcock was the best, maybe I could have gone with him, but I was waiting to find my moment, but that moment got stolen by Venturini because he was so fast today. I went with two or three laps to go, and I kept riding, I didn’t care if Eli was on my wheel.”
“When Lars made his move, I was the only one to have an answer,” Iserbyt explained.
While Pidcock pulled a whip over the final jump, pumped his fist at the crowd and readied for his Superman finishing celebration, Iserbyt, content to sit on Van der Haar’s wheel until now, did his best to drop Van der Haar on the final rise before the finish.
It wouldn’t work. Van der Haar easily outsprinted Iserbyt to take silver.
“That was always going to be a super hard race,” Pidcock said after his win. “The drier it came the more tactics played a part. The Belgians were trying to ride a tactical race. I found an opportunity and made it stick.”
“We rode our best race as possible, and it was the other riders who were better,” Iserbyt said after taking bronze. “We don’t have to be happy but be satisfied. You just have to conclude the other rider is better.”
Without his rivals in Van der Poel and Van Aert around, one might have thought Pidcock would have come to Fayetteville more relaxed, but that was not the case.
“With Wout and Mathieu not being here, it almost became harder to win the race,” he explained. “Everyone expected the race was going to be easier now, but you can’t go into the race with that mentality. We came here with a plan, and a process, and we stuck to the process, and it turned out in the end. Coming to America, spending a week in a hotel, stress builds up, but we managed for sure.”
Pidcock, like Marianne Vos, made history with his win. Pidcock became the first Brit to win an Elite Men’s title.
Seven Belgians finished in the top eleven but had to settle for bronze.
Curtis White led the North American group with 12th place.
Stay tuned for an expanded report and photo gallery.
Full results below.
See our full coverage of the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas here.
2022 Fayetteville UCI Cyclocross World Championships Results: Elite Men
|1.||26||PIDCOCK Thomas||United Kingdom||1:00:36||-|
|2.||2||VAN DER HAAR Lars||Netherlands||1:01:06||+0:30|
|12.||29||WHITE Curtis||United States||1:02:24||+1:48|
|13.||21||ORTS LLORET Felipe||Spain||1:02:24||+1:48|
|14.||27||TURNER Ben||United Kingdom||1:02:24||+1:48|
|16.||24||BOROS Michael||Czech Republic||1:02:26||+1:50|
|17.||28||BRUNNER Eric||United States||1:02:36||+2:00|
|19.||22||SUAREZ FERNANDEZ Kevin||Spain||1:03:06||+2:30|
|20.||25||MEIN Thomas||United Kingdom||1:03:48||+3:12|
|21.||30||WERNER Kerry||United States||1:03:56||+3:20|
|22.||33||SWARTZ Caleb||United States||1:03:56||+3:20|
|24.||34||MCGILL Scott||United States||1:04:18||+3:42|
|25.||41||VAN DEN HAM Michael||Canada||1:04:19||+3:43|
|26.||3||VAN KESSEL Corne||Netherlands||1:04:43||+4:07|
|28.||31||HECHT Gage||United States||1:05:21||+4:45|
|30.||32||HAIDET Lance||United States||1:06:07||+5:31|
|33.||42||SANDERSON Brody||Canada||-1 LAP|
|34.||39||LESHEM Guy||Israel||-2 LAP|
|35.||40||NYSTROM SPENCER Felipe Timoteo||Costa Rica||-4 LAP|