Tom Pidcock won the Cyclocross World Championship for the first time in his career. Lars van der Haar and Eli Iserbyt took the silver and bronze medals.
Lars van der Haar and Toon Aerts impressed with attacks during the first lap leaving a small, compact peloton. The group included all the usual stars plus Clement Venturini and Kevin Kuhn.
Venturini turned out to be perhaps the biggest surprise for the men, because after 20 minutes the Frenchman tried to thin out the peloton with a solid turn on the front. The 28-year-old rider succeeded quite well. With 6 laps to go, ten riders remained in contention for the World title, including the 5 top favourites.
A lap later, Pidcock decided his time had come for an attack. On the long climb, the Brit hit it hard: nobody was able to follow and Pidcock’s first attack was the winner. Iserbyt counter-attacked, but like everyone else, he quickly lost ground.
Behind Iserbyt and Pidcock, Venturini who was competing for third place with Aerts, Vanthourenhout and Van der Haar, tried again. The Frenchman swept up Iserbyt with the Belgians and Dutch on his wheel.
With Pidcock taking a lead of 40 seconds, the battle for silver and bronze started behind the Briton. Van der Haar seemed to be the best of the six pursuers, as he put in a solid acceleration on the final climb two laps before the finish, only Iserbyt could follow. The Belgian was unable to get in front. A sprint would eventually decide who would grab the silver behind new World champion Pidcock. Van der Haar couldn’t drop Iserbyt, but in the sprint the Dutchman turned out to be faster than the Belgian.
“It was a super tough race. It was like war. Yet I saw an opportunity. It turned out well in the end”, said Pidcock. “I think it might have been difficult to become world champion without Wout and Mathieu. Because they are not there, everyone expects it to get easier, which made it harder mentally. I had been in America for a week. That meant that the stress also built up. I couldn’t deal with it very well. Fortunately it has not all been in vain, I am curious what the rest of 2022 has in store.”
Tom Pidcock does it again 🌈
🥇Junior CX World Champion
🥇Under 23 CX World Champion
🥇Elite CX World Champion#Fayetteville2022 pic.twitter.com/vSaGGhT0CB
— UCI Cyclocross (@UCI_CX) January 30, 2022