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Tom Pidcock is planning a very short cyclocross season and it does not include the Dublin round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in just over a week (Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi)

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) is following the lead of Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) in planning a very short cyclocross season. With his focus firmly fixed on the classics in the spring – then the Tour de France and OIympics – Pidcock will only race ‘cross for a very short period in coming weeks.

And that will not include racing at the Dublin round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup the Sunday after next. It means the big three – Pidcock, Van Aert and Van der Poel – will be missing from the Irish round of the series.

However, the good news is that after some complaints last year, facilities at the race venue on the Sport Ireland Campus in Abbottstown, west Dublin, will be better this time around. Sport Ireland chief executive Una May had promised improvements, saying that last year’s fixture had been organised in such a hurry it was hard to get everything right.

This time around there will be bar facilities, with beer, wine and soft drinks, at two fan zones along the course. There will also be food stalls and big screens for spectators to catch at the action.

While Pidcock came to Dublin last year, finishing 2nd to Van Aert, his coach, Kurt Bogaerts, has now said they are taking a different approach to the 2023-24 ‘cross season, with fewer races. Pidcock has still not set out exactly what races he will ride, but Bogaerts said he will only take in a short burst of racing towards the end of the year.

He is also unlikely to continue on the ‘cross scene for long into the New Year, with the World Cyclocross Championships very unlikely.

“There is currently no definitive, clearly defined winter program,” Bogaerts told The last news. “But it will be very concentrated in any case, with an emphasis on the end-of-year period.

“He’ll contest a number of races during the busy end-of-year period, and it won’t last very long after that. It’s a bit similar to last season. The World Championships? No, I don’t think so.

“Make no mistake: Tom is really looking forward to cyclocross. But it remains an ‘extra’. Although with great added value, as this year proved. He was there immediately, with a win in the queen stage of the Tour of the Algarve and the Strade Bianche.

“Due to his crash and concussion in Tirreno-Adriatico, he had to drop out of Milan-Sanremo and he lacked quality in the Tour of Flanders. But then he finished third again in the Gold Race and second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He was certainly competitive.

“It is important to properly substantiate his condition and ensure that he does not break down during the season. That works out well, because there have never been any spectacular dips so far.”

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