Pidcock claims landmark win at Strade Bianche classic
Tom Pidcock won the Strade Bianche on Saturday, the Brit just holding back a powerful field to claim the classic Italian cycling race.
Ineos rider Pidcock scored the second big win of his young road racing career with a superb performance in the eventful 184km race on the dusty white roads of Siena.
A former cyclocross world champion and mountain bike Olympic gold medalist, Pidcock made the most of his off-road pedigree by winning his first spring classic and first one-day race since Brabantse Pijl in 2021.
The 23-year-old broke the finish line with just over 20 km in Tuscany and ended up finishing 20 seconds ahead of France’s Valentin Madois, with Jumbo-Visma’s Thiès Benout in third place.
Hot-tipped Mathieu van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe were behind the pace as Pidcock took the title from Thadeus Pogacar, who is in France this weekend for Paris-Nice.
“Honestly, it will take some time,” Pidcock said.
“I had a good feeling this week that something good was going to happen today. I kind of knew that today was my day and that it really paid off incredibly.”
A three-man group of Alessandro De Marchi, Sven Erik Bystrom and Ivan Romeo broke away early, putting more than four minutes behind the peloton.
Romeo pulled out of the lead just as the peloton entered the eighth of 11 gravel sectors. Pidcock joined them after a brilliant break from the main pack.
The pre-race favorite Van der Pool eventually made the move with 41 kilometers left, but he struggled to do so as attacks and counter-attacks fragmented the main group.
The Dutchman was in disappointing form and dropped out of the race with over 30 kilometers to go as the leading trio became a duo featuring Pidcock and De Marchi.
Pidcock then broke away from the veteran De Marchi and raced for the win as he headed towards Colle Pinzuto, the race’s penultimate gravel section, with an 18-second lead over his pursuer, which included last year’s Milan-San Remo winner Matej Mohorić. .
At one point, the gap between this group and Pidcock narrowed to seven seconds, but hesitation allowed Pidcock to develop a big enough lead before the final climb to secure him first place over the crowded Piazza del Campo.
“They got close and I was like, ‘I messed up, I went too early, I wasted my shot,'” Pidcock added.
“It’s been so fast all day and I thought if I get a breakout and keep going, it’s going to be hard for me to come back.”
td / pb / dj / mv