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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ian Parker

Tom Pidcock says Tour de France could be different after death of Gino Mader

PA Wire

Tom Pidcock believes the racing at this year’s Tour de France will be different as a result of Gino Mader’s death at the Tour de Suisse less than two weeks ago.

Mader, who was 26, died on June 16 as a result of injuries suffered when he crashed into a ravine on a high-speed descent, and rider safety has been a hot topic in the build up to Saturday’s opening stage.

Pidcock, who was also racing in Switzerland, lit up the Tour de France on debut last year with an incredible descent off the Galibier setting up his victory on the Alpe d’Huez.

But asked if he expected the approach to racing to be impacted by what happened in Switzerland, the 23-year-old said: “I think so. I think especially for everyone who was at the race, that was pretty hard hitting.

“I didn’t see a single rider take any risks after that incident on the last two stages. Personally I think one of the things that hit me was it happened descending which is something that I love.

“It kind of showed me what the consequences can be when it goes wrong. I never take uncalculated risks when I’m descending, I don’t take unnecessary risks but things can happen when we’re riding down a descent at 100 kilometres an hour in lycra.”

Pidcock heads into this year’s Tour aiming to better last year’s debut. For him, that means being more consistent in the general classification so there will be no deliberately losing time to get in a breakaway. If he is to win another stage, he wants it to be from the group of favourites.

“Suisse was a weird one for me,” he said. “I was coming straight from training camp, I was not where I thought I would be. It’s a bit strange kind of coming into the race not knowing where my level is in a race, but I know from my training that I’m going pretty good.

“Going into the first stage of a Grand Tour is always a question mark but I think my preparation has gone better than last year because I’ve got through without getting Covid.”

While Pidcock was always expected to spearhead the Ineos Grenadiers’ hopes in France, Monday’s squad announcement included the welcome news that 2019 champion Egan Bernal is back at the Tour 18 months after a life-threatening crash in training at home in Colombia.

The team made the decision after Bernal rode to 12th in the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month.

“Actually before the Dauphine my plan was to be on holiday at this time,” the 26-year-old said. “I think it was a big, big doubt before the Dauphine to come here but during the race I was not too bad and then they took the decision.”

Racing a Grand Tour is a different proposition to a week-long race like the Dauphine, and Bernal said he is trying not to think too far ahead.

“I need to take this honestly day-by-day,” he said. “It’s my first three-week race for a long, long time and I was not preparing 100 per cent for this race, but obviously I will do my best.

“The first big objective is to not lose time in the first days and then after that I can decide depending on the feelings.

“It’s been a hard couple of years but I think I should be thankful to be alive and to be here at the Tour. After everything I just try to see the good things at this point.”

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