Tom Pidcock's mum in tears after Leeds cyclist wins gold in mountain biking at Tokyo 2020

The elated mum of Team GB cyclist Tom Pidcock said she was left in tears after he bagged Britain’s first ever gold medal in mountain biking at the Olympics today (Monday).

Monday, 26th July 2021, 12:58 pm
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 1:40 pm

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From left: Tom Pidcock's girlfriend Beth Zajac, parents Sonja Harper and Giles Pidcock, and nan Christine Pidcock (photo: Sonja Harper / SWNS).

He unfurled a union jack as he crossed the line to become the first Brit to ever win gold in the sport.

The talented all-rounder narrowly avoided a fall early on in the race but took the lead midway and never looked back before storming his way to victory.

Proud mum Sonja said she knew when Tom was just four years old that he was born to ride on two wheels.

Watching with her husband Giles Pidcock, 54, from their home in Leeds she said they felt ‘relief and elation’.

Frm left, Joe Pidcock, Tom Pidcock, Giles Pidcock, and Sonja Harper when Tom was younger (photo: Sonja Harper / SWNS).

Sonja, a fitness instructor, said: “I’m feeling relief and elated, and really emotional. A bit sad we can’t be with Tom, and can’t celebrate tonight.

“I’ve been crying all morning, but in the end, I just feel completely delighted for Tom after everything he’s done to get here.

“I wish we could be with him but I can cope with that, he did just win a gold medal.”

She added: “From when he was four you could tell he was so skillful on the bike. He had a cheap bike but it felt like it belonged to him.

“We knew he would be an amazing cyclist but even this is beyond our wildest dreams.”

Tom, nicknamed ‘Tigger’ by his family as he is always ‘bouncing around’, will turn 22 on Friday and can expect an Olympic celebration when he returns home next Monday.

Sonja added: “We never thought about the Olympics because Tom was always a road cyclist.

“But this is the best birthday present he could have ever asked for. When he’s back, we’re going to have some great celebrations.”

The dedicated Yorkshireman has been training on his own in Andorra away from family and friends in anticipation for the summer Olympics.

He had been a road cyclist for most of his professional career and had dreams of winning the Tour de France until he won the U23 Mountain Bike championships last year in Austria.

Mum Sonja said that he has devoted his life to the sport which takes up 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

She said: “We haven’t ever had a family holiday for as long as I can remember because we went for training camps.

“During Covid he has worked on his own in Andorra, his girlfriend has been in England. It’s hard work, and it’s lonely.

“It’s eating right, sleeping right, missing your family, all the time.

“It’s 24/7. He’s so dedicated to his training.”

Sonja, whose youngest son Joe is also a professional cyclist, said that despite the heroic achievement she was proudest of the ‘young man Tom has become’.

She said: “I’m so proud of his achievements and of course this brilliant result in Tokyo, but the kind of young man he has become is what makes me the proudest.”

Tom sports a chain with the Yorkshire rose during his races as well as Whitby Jet earrings so he ‘carries Yorkshire with him’.

He is the second Leeds-born man to win a gold medal at the Summer Olympics this morning after Matty Lee bagged the top podium spot in the Men's synchronized 10m platform.

Team GB now have three gold medals, and currently rank fourth in the medal table behind the United States of America, China and hosts Japan.

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