Foto Story


    3x Gold at the XC World Championships 2023!

    Words Colin Meagher | Photos Hoshi Yoshida

It came within two seconds of a clean sweep of the XCC and XCO gold medals for SR SUNTOUR, as Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Tom Pidcock had stellar performances in both events.

Unlike a World Cup race, grid positions are relegated by one’s UCI ranking at the World Championships, so the Short Track Cross Country race (XCC) wasn’t a requirement for either of the two Ineos Grenadiers riders to race in order to get a good start grid spot for the Olympic length Cross Country (XCO) World Championships. Regardless, both riders opted to test their mettle in the XCC event, with Ferrand Prevot, the reigning XCC World Champion, looking for a repeat and Pidcock just looking for opportunities to race his new SR SUNTOUR equipped Pinerello Dogma hardtail mountain bike. Ferrand Prevot easily won her event while Pidcock threaded his way through traffic to claim the bronze—a mere two seconds off the win.

For XCO, the two SR SUNTOUR riders opted for different weapons: Ferrand Prevot selecting her new Pinerello Dogma Hardtail with the classic SR SUNTOUR lock out equipped AXON34 WERX EQ RL RC fork and Pidcock choosing his SR SUNTOUR TACT equipped Pinerello dual suspension Dogma.


"A fox that the hounds simply could not catch."

Ferrand Prevot had a slow start but spun her legs up in very short order. Near the end of lap one, the French rider put in a hard effort, as she worked to reel in the race leader. She continued full gas into the first climb, both taking the lead and then going nine seconds up on her nearest rival. With this move Ferrand Prevot took firm control of the race and continued to put an ever-increasing gap between her and the chasers, a fox that the hounds simply could not catch. She would finish 1:14 ahead of second place, defending her XCO rainbow Jersey with panache. 

In the Men’s XCO race, without the advantageous grid start position conferred by an XCC podium finish, Pidcock was in familiar territory, starting in the fourth row, as his extensive 2023 road racing program had him ranked 31st for XCO. But as he’s proven time and time again, a poor start position isn’t much of a handicap for the man "born to ride a mountain bike".


"A poor start position isn’t much of a handicap for the man "born to ride a mountain bike."


Older and wiser: Pidcock played this race conservatively as compared to his legendary start at the Albstadt World Cup XCO in 2021: after eighteen minutes of racing, he’d only moved up to 11th. But it was a consistent, deliberate advance vs. his madcap dash in Albstadt—that effort ultimately saw him run out of gas and miss out on the win. Pidcock remembered that race, as he kept a foot on the gas, moving into fifth place by the end of lap 2. In another lap he’d caught the leaders, but he’d need another three laps to claim the front. Pidcock assessed his fellow contenders for another lap, and then launched a furious assault that quickly saw him 11 seconds up on his rivals. From there he kept the throttle wide open, claiming the 2023 World championship XCO title by 19 seconds!