Tom Pidcock of Britain claims that winning the Strade Bianche is his best professional accomplishment.
At the renowned one-day race across Tuscany in Italy on Saturday, the Ineos Grenadiers rider won decisively in a breakaway.
This year, Pidcock, 23, won another stage of the Tour de France on the illustrious peak known as Alpe d’Huez.
He told BBC Sport, “This one feels special because it’s been the hardest step to make.
Pidcock won the Olympic mountain biking gold medal in 2021, and the following year he won the cyclo-cross world championship.
In addition, he finished second in the 2021 Amstel Gold, another cycling “classic” along with Strade Bianche, in a photo finish.
The Olympics, according to Pidcock, were perhaps the largest victory. “But, what I can do on a mountain bike is not as innovative.
“I feel like I made a major step in my career, so this is really special in that regard.”
Pidcock defeats Strade Bianche with an excellent solo strike.
The 184km Strade Bianche event takes place on Tuscany’s renowned white, chalky roads and includes some portions of rough gravel.
Pidcock received plaudits for a masterful descent on a dusty part, passing a motorcycle at a high rate of speed on slick gravel to gain distance from his main competitors.
He joked, “You can credit the chopper for some wonderful cinematics.
Descending is “one of my strengths,” he admitted, but he also added: “But it’s also about not being foolish. While I’m falling, a lot of different thoughts run through my head, but they are all calculated.
“The most important thing is that I raced instinctively, which was one of my strong points when I competed in junior divisions.
“When you become a professional, you receive a radio and a power meter; everything is much more regulated; nevertheless, in my situation, I raced off instinct. When everything may have gone wrong, you always miss the shots you don’t take.
Pidcock’s use of caffeine—or lack thereof—was a further contributing factor to his success.
“I don’t drink coffee, which is a little odd because cyclists all drink coffee,” he remarked.
So when I do use caffeine gels, I feel it. I consumed the most caffeine I’ve ever had—200ml—in Strade.
Pidcock will seek to win the first major “monument” one-day race of the season, Milan-San Remo, on March 18 while also competing in the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race across Italy.
He plans to win both the mountain bike World Championship, which eluded him last season, and this year’s Tour de France, which starts on July 1 in Bilbao.