‘Always let the legs speak’: Mads Pedersen rebounds with victory

After their grim performance in Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Trek-Segafredo recovers with a big win in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

In 24 hours, Trek-Segafredo went from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the podium.

There was little to say after the team went missing in Omloop het Nieuwsblad, a 63rd place their best result in the opening classic they won in 2020.  After Saturday’s dismal performance, Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pederson combined to give the best response in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Sunday.

“It was super nice to finish it off today and make a result after yesterday. What can we say? We fucked up pretty hard and it was pretty bad, so it’s nice to show that we are there,” said Pedersen, pulling no punches. “Always let the legs speak and not make silly excuses. I think we did it in the right way with the win today.”

“We don’t want to see that team of yesterday, that’s for sure,” he continued. “So of course we were motivated to do better today after a shit result like yesterday. In a case like this, it’s always better to speak from the bike.”

How it happened

Mathieu van der Poel’s audacious attack with over 70 kilometers remaining kicked off the action in the 73rd edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.  Jasper Stuyven made the next key move on the Oude Kwaremont and his acceleration at the bottom helped form a strong chase group. With still 55 kilometers to go, and Van der Poel ahead with over a minute’s lead, the race was on!

“I made the first selection on the Kwaremont because I thought okay, I feel a lot better so let’s just try. I suffered a lot there, but it was good. It was a big group with a lot of strong guys, so I did not want to do too much and save a little bit. Mads was in the group behind so it was perfect,” explained Stuyven.

Pedersen added: “I was actually sitting in Mathieu’s wheel when he went, but it was quite early, so I didn’t even want to follow. Then when the group went on the Kwaremont, my position was okay, but I was not quite good enough to follow,” he admitted.

“It was a good situation for us with Jasper in the first group. He can do a really good sprint, his chances were good too, so actually we were quite happy with the two groups,” Mads added.

And that’s how it remained until eight kilometers from the finish when the two chase groups merged and, a few kilometers later, the leaders finally contained.

A late crosswind section presented a final hurdle, and Stuyven and Pedersen played it well, hiding and waiting.

“We knew it was a crosswind section before the final straight, and of course we didn’t want to get dropped there, so Jasper placed us well, not full in the front, but up there,” explained Pedersen. “And then it was just about waiting game, and in the finish straight Jasper timed it perfect. Yeah, super nice from Jasper today.”

With a perfect leadout from Stuyven, Pedersen made the sprint look easy, winning by over a bike length.

“He said he was feeling good for the sprint, and I know that I am good in delivering him,” said Stuyven. “I was also ready to follow some moves if necessary. I made the leadout – we didn’t need to talk; I just know Mads is following – and he just finished it up.”

Stuyven won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in 2016, and Sunday, five years later, he led out his teammate. It’s what makes this team so special, and now Pedersen has a KBK donkey of his own.  “I like donkeys, I know Jasper does too,” smiled Pedersen. “And we’re going to name this one after Ryan (Mullen).”

Some things never change. There’s always a time and place for a Mullen dig.

The winning machine

Bike:  Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc eTap

Tires: Pirelli P ZERO 28mm

Wheels: Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6

Drivetrain: SRAM red etap  54/41 rings, 10-33 cassette

Saddle: Bontrager Pro carbon 

Donkey:  Ryan Mullen