Tom Pidcock, who earlier this month pulled off an emphatic overall victory in the Under-23 version of the Giro d’Italia, is reportedly set to sign for Ineos Grenadiers, according to a report on Telegraph.co.uk.
The newspaper says that an official announcement that the 21-year-old from Yorkshire is joining the British UCI WorldTour team from next year could be made as soon as tomorrow.
While not referencing Pidcock by name, team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said that he was looking to rebuild the team following what has been a disappointing Tour de France, the only cause for celebration being Michal Kwiatkowski’s Stage 18 victory on Thursday with team-mate Richard Carapaz second.
“I think when you look at the ‘life cycle’ of our team, there’s an older, very successful group over on one side, and then a younger, up-and-coming group,” said Brailsford.
“Jumbo [Visma] are right smack in the middle of that maturity curve, whereas we’re immature or overly mature. So it’s like a transition really. But we’re bringing in some experience and some new young talent and we’re building again.”
With Adam Yates already confirmed as joining, and the Telegraph reporting that Richie Porte is due to return following his third-place finish at the Tour de France and Dani Martinez of EF Pro Cycling also rumoured to be a target, clearly a major overhaul of the team is under way as it prepares for the departure at the end of the year of Chris Froome to Israel Start-Up Nation.
While there is a wealth of experience in those potential arrivals, the signing of Pidcock undelines Brailsford’s insistence that he wants to continue to bring through young British talent – with Ethan Hayter, who joined what was then Team Sky as a trainee two years ago yesterday picking up his biggest win to date at the Giro dell’Appennino race in Italy.
“You have to evolve,” he said. “What has it been now? 10-11 years? You need fresh blood, you need new ideas. Without doubt we’ll bring some people in and regenerate.
“I think sometimes people have very short memories. We’ve won [the Tour de France] seven of the last eight years. It’s amazing how many experts have come out of the woodwork the last three or four days. I’ve got no issue with that. I get a lot of credit when things go well and I get a lot of questions when things don’t. That’s part and parcel. It goes with the territory.”
Pidcock has achieved some impressive results both in cyclo-cross and the road at junior, under-23 and elite level.
In 2017, he won the junior world championship in cyclo-cross, and followed that up with the under-23 title in 2019 and, at the start of this year, silver in the elite race behind Mathieu van der Poel.
He won the junior time trial at the world road championships in Bergen in 2017 and bronze in the under-23 road race in Harrogate last year.
The Leeds-born rider has also won both the junior and under-23 versions of Paris-Roubaix, while his overall victory in the eight-day ‘Baby Giro’ this month included three stage wins.
Immediately after that win, Pidcock, who races for his own Trinity Racing Team, hinted to ITV’s Ned Boulting that he was in no rush to step up to UCI WorldTour level, saying that he was enjoying having the freedom to mix racing in cyclo-cross with the road and even mountain biking.
Next week will see him compete in the road world championships for the first time at elite level, with Pidcock leading the British challenge in the road race at Imola.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.