In his first race without the rainbow jersey, the former World Champion continues to show an incredible sprinting prowess with a close second place in a chaotic finish to Stage one.
The World Champion jersey may have changed shoulders, but it did not slow down Mads Pedersen who sprinted to a close second behind Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates) and inches ahead of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe).
Pedersen continues to fine-tune his prowess in the fast finishes, claiming another top result after his second place in Paris in the final stage at the Tour de France.
Trek-Segafredo was fortunate to mostly avoid a large crash in the final kilometers in a messy finish to Stage 1 with the peloton still on fresh legs and the battle for positioning fierce. The team pulled up its sleeves and went to work early with 10 kilometers remaining to keep Pedersen in the front and away from potential trouble. Koen de Kort was the only victim of the crash for the team but came through relatively unscathed and will be good to go for the next days.
Each teammate put in a huge effort for Pedersen, and the big presence and engine of Alex Kirsch finished it off, pulling Pedersen into the final meters. In the final kick to the line, the former World Champion put on an impressive display of power and speed, nearly taking the win.
In the Golden Kilometer, the plan was to have Matteo (Moschetti) to take some of the bonus time and he did a really good job to take some seconds from the GC guys. After that, it was full focus for the sprint. Charlie (Quarterman) was working early to keep us out of trouble with Koen (de Kort).
The last lap got more and more hectic, but the guys did a perfect job today, we were sitting together and cruising around. We stayed in the wind when it was necessary and stayed in the wheel when it was good. Then there was a bad crash with 5km to go. Luckily, we nearly all avoided it, only Koen went down and fortunately he is okay, which is good for the rest of the race. Again, the guys did really amazing: Emils, Ryan and Alex, did a super, super job in the last three kilometers, swinging off after doing perfect work.
Alex had a really good overview of the last kilometers and knew where to go. He started the sprint quite early, about 420 meters to go. I wanted to stay in the wheel of Ackermann but sadly we got another guy in between and it was a long way to the front of Ackermann and luckily I could pass him, but then you have a guy like Philipsen, who came really fast from the back.
- Mads Pedersen
Another good sprint in the books and we are getting closer and closer to a victory, which is what we’re aiming for. We’ll try to keep working like this and hopefully we'll go home from this race with a victory.
The Binckbank Tour continues tomorrow with a 10.9-kilometer individual time trial before three more stages and opportunities for Pedersen, who has shown he’s become a real threat in the fast finishes.
Of course, I would like to have won a stage like this, especially after all the work the guys did. Second place is okay, and now it’s full focus for the TT tomorrow, and hopefully we can do well there also. It’s 11km which is a good distance and I hope we can stay up in the GC tomorrow. But again, the boys did such a good job today and it looks promising for the rest of the race.