Olympic champ Tom Pidcock romps to mountain bike World Cup win ahead of Tour de France

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic champion Tom Pidcock rode away from Mathias Fluckiger to win the mountain bike World Cup race at Crans-Montana on Sunday in a strong performance ahead of his turn with Ineos Grenadiers in the Tour de France.

World silver medalist Loana Lecomte won the women's race as she prepares for the Paris Games on home soil.

Pidcock, who overcame some trouble to narrowly win the short-track race Saturday, had no problem on the cross-country course in southwest Switzerland. He finished in 1 hour, 26.28 seconds, giving him more than a minute on the rest of the field.

In fact, Pidcock indicated that he took it easy after building a lead early in the race.

“I made a couple of mistakes after getting my gap. I’ve got big things coming up and I don’t think my teammates (on Ineos) would be too happy if I’d binned myself today,” Pidcock said.

Fluckiger, who finished second to Pidcock on the Olympic course in Tokyo, was 1:10 back in second place in a World Cup run on his home track. Luca Braidot outsprinted World Cup overall leader Nino Schurter in the mud for the bronze medal.

Pidcock has been spending more time on the mountain bike ahead of the Paris Games, where he is heavily favored to win a second consecutive gold medal. But the British multi-disciplinary star will be back on the road bike this week, preparing for the Grand Depart in the Tour de France on Saturday in Florence, Italy.

In the women's race, Lecomte broke through with her first World Cup win of the season, giving her a big shot of momentum as she begins turning her attention to the Olympic races on July 28-29 at Elancourt Hill just outside of Paris.

“It’s good to be back,” she said. “I love this track. Even if we had a dry track, it’s a real mountain bike track, with a lot of technical sections, and very physical. I can’t wait to be back here for the world championships next year.”

Alessandra Keller of Switzerland was 46 seconds back in second place. Puck Pieterse of the Netherlands took bronze.

There is one more World Cup race before the Olympics on July 7 in Les Gets, France.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games