Tom Pidcock has won Great Britain’s first Olympic XC mountain bike medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, riding effortlessly away from the field on a BMC Fourstroke to take the men’s cross-country gold in dominant fashion.
Pidcock rides for Ineos Grenadiers on the road, and normally uses a Pinarello Dogma F as a result. However, the Italian brand doesn’t produce a cross-country mountain bike, so Pidcock has been riding an unbranded BMC Fourstroke full-suspension bike this year in his pursuit of an Olympic medal.
Pidcock’s 29er has 100mm of travel damped by what looks to be a prototype electronic SR Suntour Edge rear shock and potentially a prototype electronically-controlled 100mm AXON Werx34 fork from the same brand. Wires were spotted leaving the fork and shock and disappearing into the frame, but, as yet, we don’t know how the system works.
It could be akin to Fox’s Live Valve system, whereby tilt meters and accelerometers analyse the bike’s pitch and suspension action to automatically lock or unlock the system. Alternatively, there could be a manually controlled electronic lockout in the works.
Pidcock also used a Syncros Fraser IC SL SE integrated bar and stem, more commonly seen on Scott’s Spark cross-country bike, ridden by Nino Schurter and silver medal finisher Mathias Flückiger.
On his feet, the British gold medalist was wearing a pair of Specialized’s S-Works Recon shoes.
Pidcock started 29th on the grid but moved up to the front group early on before attacking half-an-hour into the race, leading ahead of veteran Swiss pair Nino Schurter (defending Olympic champion) and Mathias Flückiger.
The British rider pushed again on the following lap to ride away from Flückiger, who arrived in Tokyo as the World Cup leader, with Schurter falling back to contend for a bronze medal.
The Izu course in Japan had been billed as a super-technical XC track and that proved to be the case, with all riders on full-suspension mountain bikes, as we’ve come to expect from top-level cross-country races – and most with dropper posts.
Pidcock’s Fourstroke uses BMC’s RAD integrated dropper – a neat-looking solution and one that saves a little weight (approximately 100g) over a conventional dropper post. It offers 80mm of XC-friendly travel.
The pre-race favourite, Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), crashed heavily on an early lap to lose a minute and put him out of medal contention before the Dutchman eventually retired.
Pidcock, an under-23 world champion in both cyclocross and cross-country mountain biking, signed for Ineos Grenadiers to step up to the WorldTour in 2021 and enjoyed a stunning start to life on the road, winning the Brabantse Pijl semi-Classic and taking podium finishes at Amstel Gold Race and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
The 21-year-old then turned his attention back to the mountain bike, winning the Novo Mesto round of the World Cup to qualify for Tokyo.
Pidcock broke his collarbone in June but recovered before racing the Les Gets World Cup, though he did not finish.
However, when it came to Tokyo, Pidcock delivered on the biggest stage of all to confirm his status as a remarkable cycling talent across all disciplines. Flückiger went on to secure silver, while David Valero Serrano (Spain) took bronze.