Tom Pidcock: There were dead bodies everywhere when Tadej Pogačar attacked at Strade Bianche

British rider left stunned but takes home fourth after an epic day of racing

Clock17:46, Saturday 2nd March 2024
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) finished fourth in Strade Bianche

© Getty Images

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) finished fourth in Strade Bianche

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) put in a very respectable performance at Strade Bianche on Saturday, with the British rider finishing fourth as he looked to defend his 2023 crown.

However, much like the rest of the field, Pidcock had no answer when Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) stormed clear with 81km to go in the race.

“Even before Tadej attacked it was full gas. When he attacked it felt like we were in the grupetto, there were just dead bodies everywhere and I waited too long. It was a case of too little too late. If I’d played it a bit better I could have been second so I don’t really have any words for that,” the British rider said at the finish.

Read more: Incredible Tadej Pogačar wins Strade Bianche after jaw-dropping 81km solo break

“It’s like we were racing like it was still on the old parcours, and it would have been fine, but when you add 40km on then everyone is dying, although I don’t think it would have changed the result.”

Pidcock didn’t latch onto attacks from either Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny) or Toms Skujiņš (Lidl-Trek) in the final 30km and was forced to go solo to secure a high finish.

His team had looked solid all day, as they chased down early breaks and then set a fierce tempo ahead of Pogačar’s major assault. It was a brutal day of racing, with organisers RCS Sport extending the race to 215km and adding four more gravel sectors to the race. The hailstorms that hit the race made the conditions even worse, with several sectors turning to mud.

“It was non-stop eating throughout the race, if was key today, I don’t feel like eating any more today. When you’re already going full gas for the first 80km you’re already eating full gas like it’s the final and then you have to continue it to the end. It’s pretty rough. I was just waiting and waiting trying with everyone else, there were a lot of attacks and people trying to jump, but I left it too late,” Pidcock added.

The British all-rounder admitted that he didn’t expect Pogačar to go solo from so far out.

“Well no, honestly everyone was looking at each other and we were all just thinking what the hell? It felt like we were in the grupetto. I don’t really know what to say, to be honest.”

“I was good today, but I waited too long. When Tadej went I thought there was no real point in going then, because there was still 80km to go and I did not want to go into the red. people were just going off like it was the old circuit, I waited too long in the end. If the race was increased by an extra 30km and it’s flat then ok, but when you add 30km more of the same type of racing then you’re not really racing anymore it feels more attritional.”

Pidcock will remain in Italy with Tirreno-Adriatico starting on Monday. The Ineos rider will use the race to build his form ahead of the Ardennes, with the Tour de France and the Olympic Games on his radar this summer.

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