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Tom Pidcock climbs out of the saddle at the 2023 Strade Bianche race.

Tom Pidcock is OK being a Netflix villain

'If I was the bad guy, then whatever,' says the British rider over his depiction in 'Unchained.' He plans to hunt stage wins at the 2024 Tour de France.

Pidcock’s gravel chops make him a favorite for stage 9 and its 32 km of ‘chemin blanc’ roads.

by Daniel Benson 26.06.2024 Photography by
Kristof Ramon and Piper Albrecht
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Tom Pidcock will hunt stage wins at the Tour de France in 2024 rather than target the overall classification, despite previous suggestions that he would aim for a top 10 or even a top five in his third Tour start.

During a pre-Tour de France press conference in Italy, the 24-year-old also stated that he had not watched the second season of “Tour de France: Unchained” – the Netflix documentary that followed the Tour in 2023, but professed to be unbothered by the series’ portrayal of intra-team tensions.

“I want to go and race aggressively and try and win some stages. Initially I don’t want to lose time on GC for the sake of it but if I need to do that in order to achieve those goals of winning stages then I will later in the race,” Pidcock told the media on Wednesday evening as he sat alongside teammates Carlos Rodríguez, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal. The trio to Pidcock’s left at the podium all have GC experience in the Tour but Ineos Grenadiers are backing former winner Bernal and last year’s fifth-placed finisher Rodriguez as the team chase a podium spot in Nice. 

Earlier this year Pidcock’s camp expressed hopes and plans to target the top 10 in the race, with the rider’s personal coach even suggesting that a top five would be possible and Pidcock himself saying recently that “I’m going to decide what I want my Tour to be.” Whether his call or the team’s, Ineos clearly has other GC ambitions this summer.

When asked if his GC ambitions had been put back a year to 2025 with the Olympic Games on the horizon after the Tour, Pidcock responded: “Maybe you could put it like that. With the Olympics it’s a difficult one. Egan, Carlos and G, he said himself he doesn’t know where he is. All three are much more experienced at riding on GC than me, so we can’t really go with four guys. We know how strong some of our competitors are.”

Tom Pidcock drops a feature at the Crans Montana World Cup. He's pushing the front of his bike down steeply as he rolls over a large log and ramp on the other side.
Pidcock’s leadup to the Tour might qualify as the most unconventional prep ever for a Grand Tour.

Pidcock has form in winning Tour de France stages, having triumphed from the break in 2022 to win atop Alpe d’Huez. With his GC ambitions parked for at least one more year, he could benefit from the freedom of not having to race GC through each stage, and use that to his and his team’s advantage. 

“There are different ways that we can support each other,” he said in a positive way, before adding that he would back his teammates should they be a position to fight for the podium.

“We want to come out of the race with success and however that comes it’s going to benefit us all. If it comes to the last week and we’re fighting for the podium with one of these guys then we’re going to go all in for that, for sure.”

For now, the focus is on stages and Pidcock may even challenge for the yellow jersey in the opening stages. “For sure it’s possible. That’s what I’ve been dreaming of for the last months, and training hard,” he said of the prospect. “There are a lot of guys with the same dreams, so it won’t be easy but we’ll give it a good shot.”

Pidcock was also asked about his role in Netflix’s second ‘Unchained’ season, which was released just weeks ago. One episode depicted tensions between the British rider and his team over their decision to back Rodríguez for the overall classification. At the press conference Rodríguez stressed that the relationship between himself and Pidcock “was good” despite footage in the docuseries showing Pidcock not waiting for his teammate on one of the summit finishes. 

“I haven’t actually watched it,” Pidcock said after initially stating that he was made out to be the bad guy. 

“It just makes a drama but at the end of the day we’re racing and I don’t even think it was in chronological order. At the start me and Carlos were going for it on GC and as Carlos says on the steep thing it makes no difference. I wouldn’t care if anyone was in front of me or not. Then at some point someone comes out on top. They’re the person who is the leader at that point and that was Carlos. It was just a drama. It probably looks quite exciting and made a good episode but if I was the bad guy, then whatever.”

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