This time last year, Mads Pedersen had zero Grand Tour victories to his name despite completing the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia twice, each. Today he has five, accumulated within a span of exactly 300 days that began with an incredible breakaway effort and no-doubt sprint into Saint-Étienne on Stage 13 of last year’s Tour.
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With victory in a chaotic finish on Stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia, Pedersen not only achieved the rare feat of winning a stage in each of the Giro, Tour and Vuelta a España, but he accomplished it in back-to-back-to-back Grand Tours. We’re dubbing his effort the “Pederslam,” and it showcases what makes him one of the most unique athletes in the men’s peloton. Here’s a look at how he did it.
July 15, 2022: Redemption for dashed yellow jersey dreams
Pedersen was outspoken about the fact that he wanted to earn the yellow jersey when the 2022 Tour de France opened with three stages in his home country of Denmark. Alas, his dreams were dashed when he took sixth in the Stage 1 time trial.
But Pedersen didn’t throw in the towel. He grinded his way through a series of hilly and mountain stages before the profile finally leveled out on Stage 13. Pedersen hopped into a breakaway of seven riders, attacked with 10k to go to whittle it down to three, then sprinted clear of his would-be challengers for a cathartic milestone victory.
“It didn’t happen in Denmark and after that it was only looking forward and especially today it was the big option,” Pedersen said after the race. “Jasper (Stuyven) would have gotten a tattoo of a donkey if I had won the yellow jersey in Copenhagen. But it didn’t happen, he was lucky this time. Maybe we should have made a new bet.”
September 2, 2022: Mads takes over the Vuelta
Pedersen was already having a great Grand Tour campaign before the start of Stage 13 of the Vuelta. He had taken second place in three stages, and wore the green jersey as the overall points leader.
But Pedersen wanted a win, and more importantly, so did his team. His Trek-Segafredo pals executed an excellent race plan, which was completed when Alex Kirsch delivered Pedersen into the final corner with 800 meters to go. Then Pedersen took over, hopping on Pascal Ackermann’s wheel and then comfortably going around the German to win another long sprint by open road.
Pedersen would go on to win two more stages at the Vuelta, and easily secure the green jersey, which came with a fabulous green Madone.
“This morning we had a plan and the whole team was super committed,” Mads said after the stage. “We put pressure on the whole team today, and in the end, I had to deliver. A bit of pressure is always good, and it can give you an extra 10 percent in a finale like this. I like pressure like this, and I like to give the guys back what they were working for.”
May 11, 2023: Mads plays the spoiler
It’s perhaps poetic that Pedersen completed his Pederslam by doing what no one else could when he won his first Tour stage last July. On Stage 6 of the Giro, thanks to the driving efforts of his teammates, Pedersen caught the day’s last two valiant escapees with roughly 300 meters to the finish line. Then he did what he does best.
Once again, a rival challenged him to a long sprint — Fernando Gaviria this time. And once again, Pedersen took his rival’s wheel and used it to launch his winning attack. He didn’t have time to look back before the line this time. Beyond that, the win was just as sweet as all the rest.
“For sure that was a nice race to watch in the end,” Pedersen said after the stage. “I like the harder days like this, it’s good for the legs to push all day and then have a hard final. It’s really special to make a stage victory in each of the Grand Tours, and finally I could take one here in Italy as well.”