A Mads end to Paris-Nice Stage 2

"I was not totally sure until it was announced so I am pretty happy that it was enough to win."

Mads Pedersen sprinted to victory on Stage 2 of Paris-Nice after a superb team performance all day and a perfect lead-out towards the line from Alex Kirsch.

The finish was close. So close in fact that initially even Pedersen wasn’t totally sure he had secured the win in Fontainebleau. However, once the news came through over race radio the Danish rider was able to celebrate his second victory of 2023 with his teammates before heading onto the podium.

Celebrations all round 🫶

Pedersen not onto stepped onto the podium as winner of the stage but also as the new race leader. He will head into tomorrow’s team time trial with the yellow jersey on his back while also leading the Points Classification.

Reaction from Mads Pedersen

“It’s nice to start the season well and Paris-Nice is a really nice race so, of course, it’s good to get a win here. It’s also good confirmation ahead of Sanremo that I did the right training and my sprint didn’t disappear over the off season. It’s nice to have a win and it shows some good signs ahead of the Classics and especially the sprints.

“The first two days of Paris-Nice have not been typical [of the race] because normally you have crosswinds on a day like this and it would only be 20 guys at the finish. It’s a pity there wasn’t more crosswinds and then it would have been less hectic at the finish.

“We had 10km full straight and then the roundabout at the end but the team did really well to keep us out of trouble and then Alex did a perfect lead out at the end. Under the 1km to go we had 3 or 4 riders in front of us, me and Alex, and we could pass on the side. We came into the roundabout and I think Alex was behind a guy from Jumbo with me behind. The guy from Jumbo sped up because its perfect for them also, then Alex took over and did a long pull like normal and with 200m to go I started the sprint and hope for the best.

“Kooij came f**king fast in the end so it was tight at the end, really close in fact and I wasn’t sure I held on for the win and you don’t want to celebrate anything before you know it’s right. Kooij and some other guys came to congratulate me but it’s better to wait because you look like an idiot if you start to celebrate and then you are second.

“It’s nice to have the yellow jersey. I’ve never tried that before in a race like this but, to be honest, it’s more a secondary thing after the stage win. I came for a win but of course it’s nice to have the yellow jersey. But I think means more for our sponsor Santini, who provide our clothing and sponsor the jerseys here. Of course it’s nice to wear a leader’s jersey but I know it’s on borrowed time. It’s nice to have tomorrow then I can have it in the wardrobe at home afterwards.

“It will also be good for the TTT to have it. We are here with Skjelmose to try to do GC so it will be really important tomorrow to do a good team time trial for him. It’s different because if he wasn’t here we would just cruise around and have some fun for 32km but now it’s going to be a tough one and it will be full focus for us. I am 100% ready to sacrifice myself in yellow for Skjelmose tomorrow.

“For a team like us who isn not normally in the top 3 teams at TTT, it can be a good new thing to try and maybe it can work out well for us that we do ‘suicide pulls’ in the end and then Skjelmose just has to sprint himself for the finish line. In the end I don’t know, we never tried it before so we will see tomorrow how it goes, if it works well or not. I think it’s pretty nice from the organizers to try something new.”

Missed the race? Catch up on the finish 👇


More photos from Stage 2