Tom Pidcock, Olympic mountain bike champion, played the dirt roads of Strade Bianche to conquer Saturday in Siena a prestigious victory at the end of a great solo number, in front of the Frenchman Valentin Madouas. No new victory for Mathieu van der Poel (crowned in 2021) or Julian Alaphilippe (winner in 2019), therefore, the two favorites of the day, who did not have the legs to join the fight. And for the first time, it is a Briton who has put his name on the list of winners of the demanding and exciting 184-kilometre Tuscan race.
The rider of the Ineos-Grenadier formation, presented as a future tenor of cycling monuments, gave a first necklace 50 kilometers from the line to extricate himself from the peloton and join two breakaway riders. Then he flew alone to victory 23 km from the goal taking advantage of a new section of dirt, depositing with disconcerting ease the Italian Alessandro De Marchi.
"It's going to take a little time to realise this victory, it's quite incredible," said the Leeds rider, who struck a blow in his first Tour de France last year by becoming the youngest winner in the history of the Tour de France at Alpe d'Huez. "When I went, it wasn't the plan, but I dug a gap and went. Honestly, this week I had a good feeling and felt it could be my day," he added.
Romain Grégoire's beautiful 8th place
Five riders tried until the end to spoil the beautiful afternoon of the 23-year-old Briton, even coming back to only fifteen seconds six kilometers from the goal despite a not always optimal agreement. But they had to give up on the climb to Siena, facing Pidcock's flawless pedal stroke, and Madouas was the strongest to go for a nice second place, 20 seconds behind the winner.
The Frenchman from Groupama-FDJ, third last year in the Tour of Flanders, was two seconds ahead of Belgian Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), winner in 2018. French cycling can also rejoice in the beautiful eighth place of Romain Grégoire, teammate of Madouas, in a race where Julian Alaphilippe as Mathieu van der Poel quickly had to lower flag, obviously not in their best day as soon as the asphalt gave way to the formidable dirt tracks.
- Groupama FDJ