'No photo finish needed today' – Tom Pidcock rights wrongs at Amstel Gold Race

Brit extra happy to win after Wout van Aert photo finish controversy in 2021

Clock17:14, Sunday 14th April 2024
Tom Pidcock finally took to the top step of the podium in this year's Amstel Gold Race

© Getty Images

Tom Pidcock finally took to the top step of the podium in this year's Amstel Gold Race

In his mind, Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race victory should have marked Tom Pidcock’s second title in this race, after he was declared runner-up in a photo finish on his debut in 2021.

On that day three years ago, Pidcock was – ostensibly – beaten to the line by Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike), but it was a result that sparked controversy, with many believing that the finish line camera was not correctly calibrated against the actual finish line of the race.

On Sunday, though, no one could question Pidcock’s victory ahead of Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) and Tiesj Benoot (Visma-Lease a Bike).

“It feels super nice, and there’s no photo finish needed today,” Pidcock said to Cycling Pro Net after the race.

Read more: Amstel Gold Race: Tom Pidcock takes victory from four-man group

After the much-questioned second place in 2021, Pidcock took 11th in 2022, and then another podium with third in 2023, so it was an important moment for the 24-year-old to finally take the win, and particularly since he hasn’t won on the road since Strade Bianche last March.

“It’s big,” he said of the victory. “Like everybody, I made a lot of sacrifices this year. Each year the level is going up. It didn’t quite pay off yet until now, so it’s really nice and a big relief to finally get my hands in the air.”

In what could have been an unfortunate déjà vu from 2021, the race did come down to a small group sprint to the line, but it was Pidcock’s canny riding in the rest of the race that delivered him to the win.

The Ineos rider was aggressive throughout the day, and rode smartly to get into the decisive move, often being the instigator to make things more selective, and ward off threatening riders.

As well as his own strengths, Pidcock praised his teammates, particularly former winner here Michał Kwiatkowski.

“He was super today,” he said of the Pole. “So were the rest of the guys, they all fully committed to me, so I’m really glad I could repay that. Me and Kwiato, we work really well together, especially in this race. He put me in the perfect position.”

Read more: Tom Pidcock: 'I couldn't hold my handlebars at the end of Paris-Roubaix, it was epic'

Focusing on his own race to beat Mathieu van der Poel

As he has the last three weekends, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) started this race as a big favourite, though Pidcock wouldn’t have been far down that list at the start of the day.

After winning Flanders and Roubaix, Van der Poel’s dominance faded somewhat on Sunday, and he missed the key moves, eventually finishing 22nd after not getting particularly involved in the finale.

For Pidcock, part of the key to success was to not always look at the Dutchman, but to focus on his race and his team’s tactics and plans.

“Obviously when people are looking at Mathieu, then if you just base your race on him then you can get caught out, which some of the guys did,” he reflected.

However, Pidcock was quick to not be too harsh about the world champion, and celebrated the fact that the men’s peloton saw a new winner this weekend.

“Of course the media love to make all these stories. But you know, everyone is human. He has two big goals, he smashed both of them, so I don’t blame him for going off the boil a little bit now,” he said.

“It’s good for him to give someone else a chance.”

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