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After a successful run so far in the Ardennes, Tom Pidcock will extend his spring to Sunday to make his debut at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The British neo-pro was initially expected to end his first Classics campaign at La Flèche Wallonne, where he placed sixth on Wednesday, but he will now line up at his third Monument this weekend.

Ineos Grenadiers have not announced their seven-man lineup for La Doyenne, but Pidcock was one of five names on a provisional start list released by the race organisers on Thursday.

Pidcock will soon switch to the mountain bike to build towards the Tokyo Olympic Games, and it was initially envisaged that he would hang up the road bike in mid-week.

“Without Liège, it gives us more time to recover and prepare for the mountain bike,” Pidcock’s coach, Kurt Bogaerts, told Cycling News earlier in the season. “The unknown is how long he can hold his form, especially after a busy cyclo-cross schedule in the winter.”

Pidcock has shown no sign of slowing so far, and this is the latest modification in what has been an extraordinary introduction to the professional scene. 

He did so well at the Opening Weekend that it was decided to ride a fuller cobbled Classics campaign, including a debut at the Tour of Flanders. The Ardennes races were expected to be better suited to the lightweight rider, and he duly outsprinted Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) to win Brabantse Pijl before finishing runner-up to the Belgian by the closest of margins at Amstel Gold Race last Sunday.

At Flèche, he finished sixth, unable to follow the acceleration of Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič on the Mur de Huy or the responses from Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). It was lower than many expected, having anointed him as favourite following the previous two races, but a fine debut nonetheless.

After also riding Milan-San Remo in March, where he made the selection on the Poggio and attacked on the descent, Pidcock has been deemed ready for another Monument and six-hour day in the saddle.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège covers 259 kilometres and 11 climbs, the last of which is the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, followed by a 10km run down to the finish in Liège. 

Also named on the initial Ineos Grenadiers list are Adam Yates, Michal Kwiatkowski, Richard Carapaz, and Tao Geoghegan Hart. That leaves two places, with Gianni Moscon poised to join after two stage wins at the Tour of the Alps. Luke Rowe was road captain at Flèche but has only ridden Liège once in his career, while Eddie Dunbar set pace in the peloton for much of the race. Laurens De Plus, who did not finish the recent Itzulia Basque Country, is another option.

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Patrick Fletcher
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