While big names were entering the Arenberg Forest, the 5-star cobblestone sector and one of the absolute hardest in the Classic series, tomorrow’s greats, which is to say the young riders in the Paris-Roubaix Junior, were entering the Roubaix velodrome to vie for victory. Tom Pidcock is the guy who came out on top, staying true to form and living up to the hopes and expectations that were riding on him on the eve of this important event.
The English kid has won the 115th edition of the Paris-Roubaix Junior, which counts as the 2nd test in the 2017 Junior UCI Nations Cup. The race covered 111 km, with 28.9 km on cobblestones divided into 16 sectors from Saint-Amand-les-Eaux to the velodrome in Roubaix. The Brit attacked alone when there were 16 km to go until the finish line, so he was able to enjoy a solitary arrival in to the legendary Roubaix velodrome. Places of honour went to Holland’s Daan Hoole and the Dane Mathias Larsen, who arrived 4” behind.
RPM Cycling is extremely happy. The all “Made in Italy” brand from Montebelluna (Treviso), outfits the British talent and the entire team PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT. Of course, at the Roubaix Pidcock was wearing the British National jersey, but for its part RPM still had the satisfaction of seeing one of their pupils and most important spokespersons on the top spot of the podium for this classic race.
Even though this is referred to as the baby Roubaix, when you’re dealing with the edgy roads, cobblestones and dust that have made this race legendary, there’s no joking around. Whoever wins on this route proves to be a true and powerful rider and is destined to go on to a brilliant career among the pros. Lots of World Tour teams already have their eyes on him. In fact, Pidcock is following in the footsteps of his illustrious colleagues Geraint Thomas (now in the pros on Team Sky), who won the Roubaix Jr in 2004, and Andy Fenn (now in the pros on team Aqua Blue Sport) who was first in 2008.
“After the World Title in cyclocross I identified the Roubaix as a major goal for my on-road season. There was a group of 11 pacemakers ahead and I didn’t think I stood a further chance at victory. But with a nice acceleration I quickly managed to catch up to them. I was feeling good so at the entrance to the Carrefour de l’Arbre (editors’ note: one of the hardest cobblestone stretches) I gave another acceleration and I saw that no one followed me. This is when I realized I could win and I gave it everything I had. I am happy. Of course, this is a junior race, yet however, it’s still a special race…it’s very hard; I really ate a lot of dust. My road season doesn’t end here. There are still a lot of important events and I’m especially looking forward to the road racing World Championships in Bergen, Norway,” says Tom Pidcock.