Tour de France | Five things to know about the amazing rookie Tom Pidcock

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Pidcock possesses incredible bike handling skills, enabling him to take bigger risk, than other riders in the peloton. (Photo: Ineos Grenadiers)
Pidcock possesses incredible bike handling skills, enabling him to take bigger risk, than other riders in the peloton. (Photo: Ineos Grenadiers)

Rookie Tom Pidcock won stage 12 of the Tour de France with an precocious performance on an iconic mountain on Thursday.

Here AFP takes a look at five things worth knowing about the 22-year-old from Leeds. Who is an incredibly versatile rider, capable of amazing feats on road bikes, mountain bikes and cyclocross.

Olympic gold

Pidcock won the gold medal in mountain-bike category at the 2020 Tokyo Games and bears a tattoo of the Olympic rings on his wrist.

He is also the cyclo-cross world champion from January 2022. "I would put this win as second best win, behind the Olympics, but ahead of the cyclo-cross," said the Yorkshireman at the finish line.

Tour de France 2022
Like a true Yorkshireman, Pidcock is very comfortable riding in mud. (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

Muddy school uniform

After a daredevil descent that will go into Tour de France history for its beauty and cold-hearted bravery, the Tour rookie explained he honed his handling skills riding to school.

"I went to school and back on my bike everyday and took a shortcut through the woods and the mud and obviously got my unform completely covered with mud the whole time," he said after his win Thursday. "I'm used to being on the limits of control."

Tom Pidcock
When other road riding pros get nervous in wet conditions, Pidcock draws on his inventory of mountain bike skills. (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

Big ambitions

Veteran Ineos leader Geraint Thomas said his team-mate was "really young and you can tell that just by talking to him". But Pidcock isn't allowing youth to hold him back.

"I've won a stage at the Tour now, and I'm satisfied. I mean, I've learnt a hell of a lot but after this I have bigger ambitions in this race for the future. That's for sure."

Tom Pidcock
Like that other Tour de France icon, Peter Sagan, Pidcock is a hugely capable mountain biker. (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

Confident kid

Pidcock keeps winning. He has multiple major honours from youth level such as Paris-Roubaix Juniors and the under-23's road race world title. He exudes confidence and makes no bones about expressing it.

"Okay I'm here to learn but I compare myself to Wout and Pogacar," he said of Wout van Aert the world's No.1 one-day racer, and Tadej Pogacar the double defending Tour de France champion.

Tour de France 2022
Tom Pidcock at the UCI XCO in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. In his signature red eyewear. (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

Lucky red glasses

Pidcock often celebrates wins by crossing the finish line lying on his saddle with one clenched fist stretched out in a Superman pose. On Friday he was too exhausted after almost five hours of racing.

He also said he had avoided paying for another of his victory tricks: throwing his wraparound shades into the crowd, something he recently regretted after losing a pair he liked. "I had my lucky red glasses back on today, so I knew nothing could go wrong," he said.

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