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'Felt like we were in the gruppetto' – Tom Pidcock stunned by Pogacar's Strade Bianche attack

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) had an emphatic response to Tadej Pogacčar’s (UAE Team Emirates) 81-kilometre solo attack to win the 2024 edition of Strade Bianche: “What the fuck?”

The Ineos Grenadiers rider finished his race in the Piazza del Campo almost four minutes down in fourth place after being part of a chasing group of “30 dead bodies,” in the Yorkshireman’s words.

Pogačar won his second Strade Bianche after attacking on the Monte Sante Marie climb, a little over halfway into the race. Pidcock was unable to respond and the Slovenian never looked back for his first win of the season.

“Before already it was full gas. He attacked, and it felt like we were in the gruppetto to be honest. It was just dead bodies everywhere,” Pidcock said to Cycling News and other media after the finish.

Pogačar made his move on one of the steepest pitches of the Monte Sante Marie and the group blew apart. The chasers never really formed a pursuit that was going to challenge the two-time Tour de France winner, and now two-time Strade Bianche winner. Instead, individuals resorted to solo attacks for the minor podium placings. Pidcock criticised his own tactics during this period.

“I waited too long. Too little, too late. I think if I played it a bit better, I would have been second,” he said.

“I was just waiting and waiting and letting everyone else attack. They were jumping a lot. I left it too late. I was good today, but I waited too long.”

The 24-year-old had been critical of the new route, with its extra 30 kilometres and four new gravel sectors. Although the course was more difficult than previous editions, Pidcock thought that the racing tactics hadn’t changed in intensity.

“We were racing as if it was the old parcours. It would have been fine, but when you add 40k on and you have 30 dead bodies…

“The result would have been the same if it was the same distance for me,” he continued.

As Pogačar’s gap ballooned out towards the four-minute mark, Pidcock said that the morale in the chase group plummeted.

“Everyone was just looking at each other. Everyone was quiet, you know, down. It felt like we were in the gruppetto,” he repeated, “I don’t really know what to say, to be honest, like just what the fuck?”

With such a long, arduous day in the saddle, and with weather bringing heavy rain as the group hit the Monte Sante Marie, Pidcock commented that consuming the required nutrition was one of the hardest parts of the day.

“I was nonstop eating. I don’t feel like eating anything else today, to be honest. When you’re already going full gas for the first 80k and you’re already eating full gas like it’s the final, and then you have to continue it to the end, it’s pretty rough.”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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