Yorkshireman Tom Pidcock won Britain’s third bronze medal of the UCI Road World Championships on a dramatic evening of extreme and contrasting emotions in Harrogate.
After battling back heroically from a crash which saw him exacerbate an existing knee injury, he bridged the gap to the leading group before entering the finishing straight in contention for what would have been a hugely popular home win.
However, Harrogate hearts were broken as Pidcock crossed the line in fourth, behind Dutchman Nils Eekhoff, Italy’s Samuel Battistella and Switzerland’s Stefan Bissegger.
With Pidcock and the would-be medallists off the course, the race officials deemed that Eekhoff had drafted behind a car following an earlier crash, disqualifying the Dutch rider and therefore elevating Pidcock to third.
After collecting his medal, Pidcock said:
“The race was hard, with the rain and the cold – it was quite grippy and I wasn’t really feeling 100%, but as we got into Harrogate and I heard everyone screaming my name – it was unreal to be honest. I’ll never forget it.”
Pidcock’s team-mates also enjoyed a solid ride in sometimes appalling conditions, with Jake Stewart crossing the line in 18th, Fred Wright in 28th, Stuart Balfour 39th and Matt Walls in 71st.
Earlier in the day, Britain’s other individual medallist so far in these championships, Elynor Backstedt, continued her impressive week by recording a top-five finish in the junior women’s road race, as the USA’s Megan Jastrab claimed the title.
Behind Backstedt in fifth, Britain’s Anna Shackley crossed the line in 12th, Eluned King 20th, Amelia Sharpe 34th and Abi Smith 35th.
The elite women’s road race is next up, with the British team of Lizzy Banks, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Lizzie Deignan, Nikki Juniper and Anna Henderson set to battle for honours tomorrow.