The iconic final climb of Flèche Wallone is “ideal for Tom Pidcock”, according to sports director Servais Knaven.
Pidcock will be lining up in the second Ardennes Classic of his career, after missing out on victory in Amstel Gold Race to Wout van Aert by millimetres last weekend.
Ineos Grenadiers rider Pidcock will be determined to get revenge in Belgium on Wednesday (April 21), having made his frustration about the Amstel result clear on social media.
In an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Ineos sports director Knaven said: “Because he is so good, Tom gets a lot more chances than any other 21-year-old rider. In Amstel, Michal Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz rode in front of him in the final. We know he can do more than just the classics, but they are now ideal for discovering what he can do as a road racer.”
Traditionally Flèche Wallone comes down to a full gas uphill sprint on the iconic Mur de Huy climb, a 1.3km-long, nine per cent average ramp to the line.
Pidcock, who weighs around 58 kilograms which makes him a formidable climber, also benefits from a remarkable sprint thanks to his background in cyclocross.
Knaven said: “Perhaps that climb suits him best of all.
“It’s a voyage of discovery. But its weight is an advantage there. And the length of the climb, the duration of the effort, is ideal for Tom.”
Pidcock, riding his first pro season on the road, has already taken his first win in Brabantse Pijl, where he outsprinted Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert after a brutal day of racing.
But Van Aert struck back by winning the 2021 Amstel Gold Race by the narrowest of margins, with many cycling fans still debating the result even after the photo finish image was released.
Pidcock has voiced his frustration about the result online, saying in a now-deleted tweet: “There’s been a lot of speculation on Twitter. A photo finish is used to verify a result. However yesterday’s photo seems to have created more questions than have been answered.
“This isn’t correct, photo finishes should be 100 per cent accurate and should be in the future.”
Responding online to the Ineos Grenadiers squad for Wednesday, which includes Richard Carapaz, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Tao Geoghegan Hart, Pidcock said: “But where is the finish line?”