Mads Pedersen sprints to third in La Verrière as race to the sun gets underway
How it happened
A lively start to the 81st Paris-Nice saw Danish fast man Mads Pedersen sprint to the podium after a tense final. Pre-race favorite Tadej Pogačar attacked on the final ramp to claim an important six seconds in bonus seconds, dragging three others with him in the effort. All four escapees were eventually reeled in in time for a sprint finish, but it was far from a straightforward run in with a series of corners in the final kilometer. Mads Pedersen, who recently returned from a two-week training camp in Spain, was aided by Mattias Skjelmose, Otto Vergaerde and Daan Hoole in the fast finish. Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quickstep) took the win, followed by Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe) with Pedersen rounding off the podium.
A word from Mads
“The sprint itself was quite ok but I did a mistake myself which opened up a gap in the last corner. It’s a big mistake to open up a few meters there because it costs a lot of energy and I had to start the sprint early. In the end I came quite fast, so it’s a good sign for the rest of the race.
At the bonus sprint I knew Pogačar and the others would go for it, and I was also pretty sure that if they had a gap they would keep going, but it was a tough finish with that headwind in the final 4km. Luckily, Soudal-Quickstep had enough guys to keep the speed high and close it, because otherwise I think they would be gone. The two climbs were pretty hard already – the short steep one was pretty painful. From The last climb to the finish line it was tough to keep the position but Mattias came to help me along with Otto and Alex. Mattias did the leadout from 1.5 to 750 meters and did a really impressive job so I think his legs are ready for tomorrow.
The stage was hard enough for me as I haven’t raced for a while, a pretty decent day.”
Photos of the day
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