Tom Pidcock is the talk of the town these days, and for good reason: The young road racer has taken the cross country races by storm, putting down incredible race results so far this season.
But Pidcock is far from the only crossover rider, and there are many racers who defy easy categorization. Here are some others who have crossed from road racing to mountain biking or vice versa, with varying degrees of success.
Peter Sagan has roots in mountain biking - he was junior cross country world champion in 2008, after all - but when he lined up for the Rio 2016 Olympics, he hadn't raced any high-level dirt races in seven years. The reigning road world champion was awarded a wildcard spot to represent Slovakia, and although he started from the very back of the pack, he had a real shot at the podium. Unfortunately for him, the race was a roller coaster. He battled his way up into the five-rider lead group, then lost his position at the end of the first lap when he punctured. His fate was sealed when he punctured again on the fifth lap and was eventually pulled from the race, settling for an official 35th of 44 finishers. He has said he does not intend to try to race cross country in the 2021 Olympics.Marianne Vos
Marianne Vos had several junior mountain bike national championship titles to her name by the time she went pro on the road. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, she gave elite mountain bike racing some serious effort, even considering trying to race cross country in the 2016 Olympics, but she struggled with the technicality of some of the courses. Still, her mountain bike campaign was relatively successful: she beat out some of the top mountain bike racers to collect both short track and cross country wins at Sea Otter, as well as riding two impressive World Cup races, finishing 11th and 23rd in Albstadt and Leogang, respectively. Still, despite her success and obvious ability, she decided that mountain bike racing is not for her, partly because she doesn't have the technical ability that she feels she needs, and partly because she enjoys the tactics and team dynamics in road racing.Mathieu van der Poel
Cyclocross and road star Mathieu van der Poel has shown that he can be dominant across several disciplines at once, and he is increasingly focusing on mountain biking. After dabbling in cross country racing in previous years, van der Poel turned the jets on in 2017 and earned a second place behind Nino Schurter in Albstadt. He solidified his position on the podium in 2018, then started taking consistent wins in 2019. After a hiatus in 2020, he's back for 2021, with his sights set on the Olympics.Cadel Evans
Cadel Evans started his international racing career on a mountain bike before shifting to road racing and becoming one of Australia's most notable bike racers of all time. Evans won a series of World Cup races and stood on two U23 world championship podiums. In the early 2000s, he officially switched to road racing and signed with a pro team, eventually winning the Tour de France in 2011 and not returning to mountain bike competition until 2017, when he took on the Cape Epic stage race with former teammate George Hincapie.
And for a true throwback film, here's Chainsmoke, a 1996 film that features several of the mountain biking legends alongside the future road champion.Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
Given her long list of mountain biking achievements, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is a name we all know well, but her impressive performances on the dirt sometimes overshadow the fact that she excels not only on the trails but on the road as well. At age 23, she became the first person ever to simultaneously hold the road, cyclocross, and cross country mountain bike world championship titles. She also placed 9th in the London 2012 Olympic road race at age 20 as the youngest competitor in the women's field. This season, she's focusing on mountain biking in preparation for the Olympics, but her dominance over the last decade has shown that she could likely return to the top of the road racing scene if she chose to.
This list is obviously not exhaustive, and there are plenty of notable multi-discipline riders out there, particularly cyclocross crossover racers (Simon Andreassen and Jolanda Neff come to mind). Which other crossover riders should we be talking about?