Speaking to MBR Magazine, the Ineos Grenadiers star has admitted he would love to try his luck in the UCI downhill World Cup series. Currently, he is riding for the Ineos Grenadiers road racing team, but he does have off-road experience and a deep love of the discipline stemming from his childhood.
Speaking to MBR Magazine Tom said - "I’ve ridden them (Mountain Bikes) my whole life, I rode to school every day on my BMX through the woods. I had a line that I took every day, it was downhill on the way home and I took the same line and the same jumps every time. My parents didn’t wrap me up in cotton wool, when I was younger I’d go mountain biking with my dad, we used to go downhill super fast together.”
Tom backed up his love and talent of offroading with an excellent record in Cyclocross and some superb cross country results this year. In cyclocross, he achieved victories at Junior and Under-23 World championship level, and this year he scored a cross-country victory in only his second elite race.
But downhill racing has always been on his bucket list a fact that he explained to MBR magazine - "In Morzine, I always went downhilling four or five times over the two weeks, I also go to the dirt jumps – last year in lockdown I knocked myself out, there’s a video on my Instagram. I’m always doing things to improve my skills. On my bucket list, it says ride a DH World Cup, and it also says ride Red Bull Rampage.”
Swapping disciplines was more common in the past, particularly in the ’90s when offroad riding specialties were just establishing a mainstream footing. Since then, the disciplines have become more specialized and this has meant fewer riders willing to try their luck outside their chosen specialty.
However, recently the trend seems to be returning with more top riders swapping disciplines. Amongst the riders that have done so or expressed a serious interest in doing so in the future are: -
In my opinion, it is a great thing to see riders try disciplines that fall outside their comfort zone. While Tom’s success as a downhill rider is far from assured, it would be great to see such a talented rider try the discipline.