Tom Pidcock (Great Britain) attacked early to take his first elite Cyclocross World Championship title in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Centennial Park course was just as hard and fast as it had been all weekend, if not more so, its hard-packed earth, lung-busting climbs and rapid descents playing host to a blistering World Champs finale.
After another lightning fast start, a large group rode the first three laps together, with the occasional soft acceleration from one of the vast number of blue jerseys. Belgium as always had strength in numbers, including World Cup winner Eli Iserbyt, but they had a thorn in their side in Iserbyt’s arch-nemesis Tom Pidcock.
All it took was one badly timed mistake from a rival for Pidcock to take his chance, and that moment came towards the end of the fourth lap. Seeing daylight and a little disarray in the chase, the 22-year-old went all in.
By the end of the sixth lap of nine, Pidcock’s gap was out to 35 seconds and the chase group was looking thoroughly dejected, knowing they were now most likely racing for second. Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) took control of the chase in the closing phases, but though he was able to jettison all but Iserbyt, he could only chip away a few seconds each lap.
Pidcock stayed away, attacking every lap without any signs of fading, and was able to enjoy a terrific first elite World Championship victory with his trademark Superman celebration. Van der Haar was rewarded for his efforts with silver ahead of Iserbyt, the first Belgian home.
The day’s earlier races were fought tooth and nail from start to finish, both ending in a close sprint. In the junior men’s category, 17-year-old Jan Christen (Switzerland) won the three-up drag race, and 19-year-old Puck Pieterse topped the all-Dutch U23 women’s podium after what was the perhaps the most aggressive race of the weekend.