Tom Pidcock Wants to Race a Downhill World Cup

Jun 21, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  
Coming into the final lap Pidcock was now well ahead after eventually winning his battle with Van der Poel and extending his gap.

Tom Pidcock has told mbr magazine that he would like to ride a downhill World Cup in the future.

Pidcock is signed to the Ineos Grenadiers road cycling team but he also has a strong competitive record in cyclocross including Junior and Under 23 World Championships victories. He has shot to prominence in World Cup cross country racing this year after taking a win in just his second elite race and now has his sights set on more off-road success.

Pidcock told mbr: "In Morzine I always went downhilling four or five times over the two weeks, I also go to the dirt jumps – last year in lockdown I knocked myself out, there’s a video on my Instagram. I’m always doing things to improve my skills. On my bucket list it says ride a DH World Cup, and it also says ride Red Bull Rampage, it looks small on TV…”

400 [Failed to load instagram embed] https://www.instagram.com/p/CFFe3b3ghHJ/?maxwidth=1000
Pidcock riding downhill at the Vallnord bike park in Andorra last year.

Tom also expanded a bit more on his mountain biking history in the interview, in which he said he was "raised to ride mountain bikes". He explained, "I’ve ridden them my whole life – I rode to school every day on my BMX through the woods. I had a line that I took every day, it was downhill on the way home and I took the same line and the same jumps every time. My parents didn’t wrap me up in cotton wool, when I was younger I’d go mountain biking with my dad, we used to go downhill super fast together.

"We’d go to Dalby Forest too. With the family every year we’d go on holiday for two weeks in Morzine, mountain biking and then I always came back and won the road race National series in Scarborough. Five years in a row or something. I’ve always loved mountain biking and now the stars have aligned and I can compete on it.”

While cross country racers swapping into gravity disciplines was more common in the 90s, it hasn't happened as much the past two decades. However, a new generation of riders are looking to change that. Nino Schurter has raced an Enduro World Series event, Jolanda Neff won a round of the Downhill South East Series in 2019 and Mathieu Van Der Poel has also said he would like to try enduro racing.

It's great to see more cross-pollination between mountain biking disciplines, especially as cross country mountain biking becomes more technical and relatable for the average mountain biker. While we're skeptical Tom could enjoy the same success in gravity racing as he has in cross country racing, we'd love to see him try if his sponsors allow it.

The full interview, which includes further details on Tom's Olympic ambitions, can be read, here.


154 Comments

  • 86 0
 I think it'd be entertaining if the xc and dh racers swapped disciplines for one race. Or maybe have a few of them stay in their discipline just to provide a benchmark.
  • 17 0
 An overall Super Serie like King/Queen of Cranckworx would be very rad, indeed !
  • 122 0
 Make it a charity race to raise money for Grow Cycling (or similar). Put it on a day or two after the final round at snowshoe. The courses would already be taped, everyone would be there, Redbull cameras would be set up, etc. Come on Eliot Jackson and Red bull make it happen!
  • 18 0
 An old school stage race with xc, dh, hill climb, trials, etc. all using the same bike would be great entertainment and show who is the best overall rider.
  • 5 0
 Alpine skiing has alpine combined. Combined in mountain biking! Come on UCI, make it happen.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, I think at the 1994 NORBA National Champs at Mt Snow, John Tomac won the XC, DH, and Uphill Time Trial. I don't think that was even all that unusual for him. Might've even done it all on the same bike.
  • 3 1
 Bruni is super fit, and would sweep the DH/XC discipline, even if he is a bit bulky.
  • 5 0
 @hllclmbr: I'm actually pretty sure Bruni grew up on this format. In France, we have the TRJV (young riders regional trophy) where DH/XC/Trial are mixed. IIRC you can only use a single bike (HT mostly in my time). Each venue usually features 2 of the 3 competitions and times/ points are added to declare a winner. It's particularly popular in the south of France.
  • 2 0
 @polarproton: et les petits richoux qui venaient avec plusieurs vélos mais personne disait rien parce que pognon. J'ai quand même fait podium avec mon vélo de supermarché, allez cheh !
  • 3 0
 @ol-sidewinder: will never happen again. JT was the ultimate !!
  • 4 0
 @baulz: you mean ‘Enduro’?
  • 7 0
 I'd like to see an enduro with one or two uphill stages that have some super techy climbing sections to them. Would make bike choice a lot more interesting.
  • 1 0
 There should be a combined event (DH/XC) at the World Cup level. Similar to alpine skiing combined events.
  • 1 0
 @ozfrenchie: I think it'd be hard to get the timing weighted correctly, it's easy to win by a few seconds in XC but in downhill a few seconds could cover the top 20
  • 1 0
 @hatton: totally. With a no foot time bonus
  • 1 0
 @chris-brown225: Make it points based...
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: This is an awesome idea, and the 5 - 15 min. recap on Redbull.tv would be epic, even if the whole race might not be. Sounds like fun for the competitors too. Wouldn't even need the charity, but yeah, that would make it epic!
  • 1 0
 A lot of dh racers wouldn't transition well. The training is so different, much more upper body muscle is required for dh world cups. Racing just 1-2 laps of a pro xc course is so intense. The crossover could be funny, but certainly not competitive for more than a couple of "Unicorn" type riders.
  • 72 6
 Tom thinking he's ready for Rampage is the equivalent of Bernard thinking he could jump into Anaheim would love to be proven wrong because the dude clearly kills it on lots of bikes, but the gap from XC to Enduro is one thing, while the gap from XC to Rampage is immeasurable
  • 7 5
 Yeah even the best freeriders in the world shit their pants at Rampage. If he trained for it Tom could totally ride does lines, but I doubt he's ready for it atm.
  • 56 0
 Pretty sure the rampage comment was just a piss-take.
  • 21 1
 100% a Piss take.
  • 68 1
 I'd say the XC to Rampage gap is quite measurable. It’s about 30 ft out and 70 down.
  • 5 0
 @WE-NEED-MORE-ROOST: that makes me feel better
  • 6 0
 @EnsBen: Growing up in close proximity to brits I've learned to recognize the dry humour...it's an acquired skill for sure.
  • 21 0
 Well, that whole 'looks small on TV...' thing suggests a sense of humor and perspective...
  • 2 0
 @EnsBen: To Roost's point, you seemed pretty committed to the fact he was being serious about doing Rampage.
  • 3 0
 TBF he doesn't say he thinks he's ready for it, just that it's on his bucket list.
  • 1 0
 He says Rampage looks small on tv, and it's not likely he's a complete idiot----->joking---->logic
  • 1 0
 @ol-sidewinder: admittedly yes, please forgive me
  • 49 0
 Dear Redbull / Athertons , please invite Tom to the next Hardline :-)
  • 2 2
 Rumor has it they are looking for a new DH rider for this season, so you never know!
  • 44 9
 Unreal how unsupportive people are in the comments. I hope he proves you all wrong.
  • 10 1
 me too
  • 8 1
 no kidding, right? What a bunch a goons.
  • 1 0
 I'm supportive. I absolutely think he could potentially build the skills to do either. My only argument is that competing in a Freeride or DH event is very different from winning an event, which some commenters have claimed he might do.
  • 7 2
 @jayacheess: Dude, seriously. He was clearly joking about Rampage. Don't be such a kook.
  • 4 0
 Just a bunch of people who are projecting their insecurity that a roadie is faster on a dh bike than they are.
  • 1 4
 @ol-sidewinder: Are you stalking me now? f*ck off, dude.
  • 2 0
 @Austink: you're right, I think that's exactly what it is. I love to see everyone succeed and reach their goals or at least try. From my own experience with the group of people I ride with, I've seen how positivity can have such a powerful effect on someone's confidence and progression. It's a pretty awesome feeling when people believe in you so why take that away from anyone.
  • 2 2
 99.9% chance he couldnt compete in USA cat 1 dh class.
  • 1 0
 I am a skeptic as well but not gonna crap on him for wanting it. I would love to be proven wrong, I think it would be amazing to watch. If he wants to race DH then go for it.
  • 38 4
 Tom: *Breaks Collarbone in a road accident*

Also Tom, 3 weeks later: "I wanna try DH"
  • 114 0
 No cars on a DH course, it's safer!
  • 5 2
 Smart man, put more metal in the body for faster recovery after road crashes in the future

#breakingbonesmarginalgains
  • 10 1
 Don't forget, "Tom Pidcock returns to racing 6 days after breaking collarbone into 5 pieces in vehicle collision".
  • 17 0
 Tom seems to be completely on top of his mental game and there is no questioning his fitness. Hope this happens soon. Bike check on the Pinarello Dogma DH, please!
  • 21 6
 Enduro maybe, dh...I’ll certainly tune in lmao
  • 14 0
 Tom, please do it for your haters.
  • 10 1
 Have a buddy who is a top caliber XC rider but shreds harder than anyone I know, while on his team issue specialized evo. waiting for him to snap those flex stays. He did a DH race for the first time a few weekends ago in khaki shorts and a t-shirt while on a older model YT Capra - finished 2nd in Cat 1. I fully believe Tom can do it.
  • 7 0
 Bring back the days where everyone races XC, DH, and 4X! This would totally be awesome. It would probably be really hard for him to qualify, but would be cool to watch. If he can get enough UCI points to get in with the GB Team (or however GB's world cup qualification system works), then go for it!
  • 6 0
 For the old heads... A NORBA race weekend meant Hill Climb, XC, DH...and in some cases trials. All on the same bike.
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: I remember…But, I think the DH course was the same fireroad used for the hill limb, just the opposite direction. Bikes and courses have changed a lot since then.
  • 8 1
 I don't think it's too outrageous he could qualify for and make it to a world cup DH if he dedicated some serious time away from road. Making it to finals is a harder call. I feel like Rampage is more of a fantasy list than bucket list though.
  • 3 25
flag Wheeeliemann (Jun 21, 2021 at 10:23) (Below Threshold)
 Nope, not even close to qualifying. Even in juniors. Surely his medical program has delusional side effects. Maybe Schurter wins an EWS series but i bet hard money against Pidcock ever starting top 80 for WC DH
  • 15 1
 @Wheeeliemann: What makes you so certain? Have you ridden with him? He's at least a pro mountain biker. How about you?
  • 3 0
 @Wheeeliemann: lmao well you sound certain.
  • 4 1
 @Wheeeliemann: in case you haven’t been watching xc this year pidcock is faster than schurter ever was and courses are not getting less technical. Pidcock also overtook 95 guys in his first xco (100 to 5 and that’s with a puncture mid race) while he is technically racing up a class (he could still be racing u23). With a couple more years experience/training he will be pretty much unstoppable as long as he doesn’t get hit by any more cars.
  • 3 2
 what the hell are you talking about! Never going to happen. Trust me it isn't easy to qualify to race in a WC and then top 80 pfffft dude should snap out of it. Rampage?? WTF ridiculous.
  • 1 1
 @Wheeeliemann: kids mental. not going tp happen.
  • 1 1
 @Wheeeliemann: seriously I was counting the rocks on the insta post. You dont just get fast...
  • 3 2
 @Intense4life: So you tried to qualify for a WC and it didn't work out, huh?
OK everyone, Intense4life beefed his quali, so why don't you all just turn around and go home, OK?
Thanks for playing.
Or you just know it's hard to qualify because you've half-read so many articles about DH?
Either way, thanks for the life knowledge.
Killer handle, BT-Dubs
  • 2 3
 @Intense4life: How many rocks did you count? What size qualifies for a rock?
  • 5 1
 @Intense4life: What's the biggest rock you ever went over? Did you qualify?
  • 1 2
 @ol-sidewinder: you’re embarrassing yourself At this point lil girl.
  • 2 0
 @Intense4life: I was being serious. Why so intense?
  • 7 0
 What he's trying to say is that he will take a small detour during the next Tour de France and jump over the peloton before getting back with his mates for the rest of the stage. He's not sure about swapping bikes though, I can't wait.
  • 8 1
 He absolutely should. Make a metric shit load of money racing road for a while, then when he gets bored of it which he very well might, go start training for and hitting the EWS and hopefully the DH world cup. I would love to see more guys dabbling like that. As much as people hate on the XC folks, those WC riders are some of the best bike handlers. They hit stuff on 100mm rigs with ease that all of us jabroneys think we are rad for hitting on enduro rigs.
  • 6 1
 Cecile Ravanel made a fairly successful transition from XC to enduro racing. It seems like some people suppose athletes live more inside their racing discipline than they actually do. I'd be surprised if most top XC racers don't also ride at least some bikepark stuff on enduro bikes, DH racers ride XC for training, BMX racers ride road bikes and all of them at least have a bit of history on BMX.
  • 3 0
 Kenta Gallagher formerly on UR Polygon was another rider who raced XC, Eliminator and DH world cups successfully. The transition is clearly possible.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, this kid in my community that is on the Trek dev team also rides enduro and dirt jumps quite often.
  • 6 0
 I would like to see an end of season multidiscipline MTB race, that includes XC. Kind of like “Race of champions” in motorsport.

Crankworx gets close, but misses out XC.
  • 2 0
 There needs to be more crankworx events.
  • 10 1
 "it looks small on TV"


IT WAS COLD OUT OKAY
  • 4 1
 All the doubters seem to forget that a PRO in one discipline isn't stuck in that discipline. Dude grew up on bikes and rides park for fun. Pretty sure with his physical and mental discipline he would do well enough to have some fun and beat a few people. The natural ability and attitude are what shape the riders. Just because he is currently focused on XC doesn't mean he can't do other stuff. I want to see this happen!
  • 3 0
 He just said to ride a DG world cup, not win it. I wonder how many people would have laughed at him a few weeks ago if he said he would comfortably beat Nino and MVP at an XC world cup...
  • 3 0
 That Vallnord trail video was kind of a 'Livewire' (N* reference, sry) line, but what the hell, I'd like to see him try. He's an amazing rider.
  • 2 0
 The trail in Vallnord is pretty sick. Flat out out of the start, no big jumps in it, some that are far too small for the speed you can carry down it. After where the video cuts was where I was hoping to see, see if he went into the woods on the right and held her wide open.
  • 1 0
 Bring back an Omnium format. All athletes have to do a hill climb, DH, XC, and maybe (for modern tastes) a varying 4th discipline that could vary from slope style to freeride comp to a mini enduro.

It’d be a great weekend or longer of competition and great viewing.
  • 4 0
 he’ll surprise a lot of people if he does. rides near me a fair bit and isn’t afraid of big gaps one bit.
  • 1 0
 You need a ton of experience and develop some fine skills to ride a DH fast,but DH pro are in another hole level of fast compared to your local fast buddy´s. But if he train seriously and ride with top riders it could be possible to go to a world cup and not be the last guy or broken in pieces at the first jump.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike ia big enough to host a sort of racing only crankworx but where riders need to do each event. Dh, enduro and xc add up points and win some random price. I've been saying this for years
  • 1 0
 Enduro may be a better place to dip a toe into the gravity world and do well but if he can qualify for a WCDH then props to him.
  • 1 0
 I believe the bigger question is what he was wearing for DH. Does he go full Nico or is he more in the school of Palmer? Does Ineos make pajamas?
  • 1 0
 This would be amazing and I wouldn't put it past him at all.
Maybe he could pit with Cathro next year and co-star in the Privateer?
  • 2 1
 So let's see if the magic found in some water bottles can work in DH too (yes. Yes it works. But the skills are on another level).
  • 1 0
 T Piddy is a seriously bad dude on a bike, any bike, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he could hang at least mid pack in a WC DH.
  • 1 0
 As an ex-xc racer trying to transition to gravity, I would love to see tom kill it. It would be a huge confidence boost for me.
  • 2 0
 Broken collarbone and all Beer
  • 1 0
 I wonder if there’s anything in life that he’s not better than me at....
  • 1 0
 I bet you are better at being slow on a bike even when trying really hard
  • 1 0
 @Tom Pidcock ask @Jared Graves for some tips. He raced everything I know. Same for @Connor Fearon.
  • 1 0
 I too would like to race a downhill world cup race. Smile Jokes aside, a mixed event would be fun!
  • 2 0
 Lets see him podium in cat 1 at a GRT first.
  • 1 0
 This guy trying to be the first to die at rampage..he forgot its invite only..dude will never qualify
  • 2 1
 Can he let other people win please
  • 1 0
 we all need to acknowledge the fact that Tom X-Men
  • 1 0
 Maybe Leogan a few years ago
  • 1 0
 Hey - he should! Thumbs up for that
  • 1 0
 I suggest he should try and qualify then.
  • 1 0
 Looking at you MvP.
  • 2 3
 I could see an EWS race just due to the high level of fitness, but world cup DH is just different.
  • 5 14
flag mi-bike (Jun 21, 2021 at 9:51) (Below Threshold)
 You're calling DH racers couch potatoes?
  • 8 1
 @mi-bike: I can't imagine how you extrapolated that from what I said.
  • 4 11
flag mi-bike (Jun 21, 2021 at 10:15) (Below Threshold)
 @fullendurbro: You implied that riding WC downhill doesn't require a high level of fitness.
  • 9 0
 @mi-bike: I think the implication was that the type of fitness is very different.
  • 5 1
 @mi-bike: No, your brain made a connection that didnt exist.
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: he did? Where?
  • 1 12
flag mi-bike (Jun 21, 2021 at 10:48) (Below Threshold)
 @pmhobson: I agree that a "different level of fitness" is different from a "high level of fitness".

However, the wording in the OP very clearly implies that racing downhill requires less than a high level of fitness.
  • 4 0
 @mi-bike: Relax your balls, Frank.
  • 5 0
 @mi-bike: Disagree that *that* is what is very clear.

To me, it's very clear that what's meant is that Tom Pidicock's very high level of fitness, while not tuned for either enduro or DH, would carry him further in an enduro race than it would a DH race.
  • 4 0
 @mi-bike: No, that's not at all what I was saying. Racing in any discipline at the world cup level requires a very high level of fitness. However downhill, in addition to requiring a high level of fitness and brute strength, also requires you to be comfortable doing things far outside the comfort zone of XC or EWS racers -- like big gaps, or high speed drops into super gnarly rock gardens.

Tom Pidcock could be relatively competitive in enduro just by relying on his fitness. The same could not be said for DH, given that I'm skeptical Tom Pidcock is comfortable scrubbing a 40 foot gap while going 37 miles per hour.
  • 3 0
 @mi-bike: I read the post as stating that downhill requires more than just elite levels of fitness.
  • 5 2
 @fullendurbro: have you ever ridden a road bike down a hill full commitment zero brakes with multiple riders close to you or rode an xc race bike on technical trails with other racers all fighting you for the same spot? To be honest dh is pretty chill compared to high level road racing and xc, you just worry about your own riding on a course you’ve already memorized you’re not riding down the alps with 100+ other guys trying to get ahead of you.

Xc racing has super gnarly rock gardens and high speed drops. Sure there aren’t big gaps but you’re stupid if you think hitting features on an xc race bike going race pace with other riders trying to pass you is way easier than doing a jump on a downhill bike. He wouldn’t win a dh World Cup but he would almost certainly be able to qualify for the race if he made that a goal of his.
  • 3 0
 @Daledenton: I like how everyone is certain Pidcock is DEFinitely unable to do a WC DH, but I imagine most people didn't even know who he was until they read this article.

Kooks.
  • 1 0
 @ol-sidewinder: Says more about your imagination than the commenters.
  • 1 0
 @ol-sidewinder: I mean, I assume you didn’t come here to tell us about your completely-disconnected-from-reality imagination, but maybe that’s your jam.
  • 1 1
 Yeah, don't we all wish...
  • 1 0
 He'll do alright!
  • 1 0
 #MeToo
  • 1 0
 Yeah Boy ! Just do it !
  • 1 1
 Let's mix XC with DH. What will we call it. Enduro.
  • 3 0
 If the uphills were timed, then it’s something different.

Timed crazy technical uphill and downhill would probably be run on 130-40F and 120R with lockouts. 25-26 pound bikes.

It should be a thing.
  • 3 3
 YOURE NOT THAT GUY PAL, YOURE NOT THAT GUY.
  • 1 0
 Probably wins.
  • 1 0
 Race flow tracks?
  • 1 0
 Pidcock….lol
  • 8 11
 Tom Pidcock: A COMPLETE rider! Wouldn't be surprised if he won titles in all MTB disciplines.
  • 18 1
 Lol. I would be VERY surprised if he came anywhere close to a DH title, let alone a top 20. Dude might be amazing on a bike, but being a top elite in either discipline means physical training and body composition specialized for that pursuit.
  • 2 10
flag L0rdTom (Jun 21, 2021 at 9:44) (Below Threshold)
 @jayacheess: yeah he did terribly in short track xc qualifying event against the world's fittest. Definitely no sprint power in those legs.
  • 4 0
 @L0rdTom: I believe he had a mechanical at the sprint. He went on to absolutely slay the field, including the favored, VDP, in the main event. That guy is a hoss.
  • 1 3
 He wouldn't even qualify in any WC DH. Clear a click bait title for this mbr mag article.
  • 2 0
 @jayacheess: LOL, tell that to John Tomac. Of course, times are different but never say never! BTW, MvdP and Peter Sagan are talented, skilled and powerful athletes as well.
  • 1 0
 @ol-sidewinder: was referring to the xc short track race where he /just/ lost the sprint to MVDP.

Any thought that these guys don't have the power for a flat out 4 minute race is a joke.
  • 2 0
 @martin737: This John Tomac - youtu.be/9DEsuScP6hw ? Have you not watched DH in the last 20 years? The sport has changed and the disciplines have evolved in their own directions.
  • 2 1
 @L0rdTom: Yeah that's the race I'm talking about. Shifter mechanical at the sprint.
  • 2 1
 @L0rdTom:He whipped the tar out of the field in the in XC. Left the whole field on the third lap, VPD included. He solo'd the entire rest of the race.
I don't race XC, but that's a damn big achievement in my book.
On a little short travel bike, no less. Credit where credit is due.
  • 1 3
 @jayacheess: Speaking from experience? Ever seen Peter Sagan shred a mountain bike? How about Yoann Barelli shred a Cross bike?
You're out of your element, Donny.
  • 1 1
 @ol-sidewinder: Every one of these arguments comes down to people not bothering to read the thread.

I'm not saying that he can't ride those disciplines. I'm saying there is a vast gulf between merely competing, and competing to WIN, which martin373 claimed he might do.
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