With the victory, Pedersen takes over the race lead ahead with two stages remaining.
After a close second place in Stage one, Mads Pedersen powered to a decisive win in Stage 3. The BinckBank Tour was forced to cancel Stage two under The Netherlands’ new COVID-19 restrictions, but the unexpected rest day did not hamper the young Dane. Pedersen picked up where he left off, this time going one better to cap the strong teamwork with a victory and the leader’s jersey.
The stage started with weather typical for Belgium in October; wind and rain. Some riders would have looked out the team bus windows dreading another wet stage, but not Pedersen. Just over a year ago, he won the World Championships in much worse conditions. In fact, the bad weather seems to give the Dane a boost over his rivals.
Speaking after taking a hot shower, Pedersen said, “[With bad weather] It’s not that I like it, it’s rain and you will dry off again. It’s not that bad and it’s the same for the whole peloton. It’s ok – rain is something you can’t change; you have to accept it and that’s what I’m doing.”
With a confidence-boosting second place in Stage one in the back pocket, the whole Trek-Segafredo were ready to take command in the third stage.
“After the sprint on Tuesday I was feeling really good and hoped I could do another good sprint today. The team did a really impressive job, we took the control early and started to pull. Charlie [Quarterman] was pulling for a long, long time. We made the race today for us, we did it perfectly to make a good result for ourselves. When the whole team are working for me, I really feel even more up on the game to do a good result for the team.
Pedersen is always the first to heap praise on his teammates on a well-executed performance. After all, cycling is a team sport, but sadly only one rider can stand on the podium at the finish.
“Today without the other guys, this wouldn’t be possible: Koen [de Kort] is helping to bring back the break, Ryan [Mullen], Emils [Liepins] and Matteo [Moschetti] are doing great to put us in the best position with two kilometers to go. From there Alex [Kirsch] is doing a really great job. He has an excellent overview of the finals and knows exactly where to cruise around and where to go in and make sure I’m with him. The whole team did super, super good today.”
I was waiting, waiting, waiting and hoped I had a big enough punch to pass the other guys.
The BinckBank Tour is characterised by its tough racing and technical finishes, and today was exactly that. Fortunately, Pedersen had the expertise of Kirsch to guide him to the sprint. “It was a bit tricky final with the narrow roads, but it was super good for us today because in the end it was just me with Alex left with 2km to go, but on the small roads like this it’s easier to move around. For us it was perfect today and we have really good equipment, so we trust the tires and it’s even better in a tricky final.
When Alex peeled off, I had to follow the other guys. Bora came to do a lead out for Ackermann, and I think there were still three guys. I wanted to go on the wheel of Ackermann but I saw Philipsen there, so I took his wheel instead. From there on, I didn’t want to open my sprint too early because it was a little bit uphill and I had a feeling there was a little bit of headwind too. I was waiting, waiting, waiting and hoped I had a big enough punch to pass the other guys. Normally I would like a long sprint, but this was a shorter one, so I hoped I had a good punch and, in the end, luckily it was enough.”
It was feared that tomorrow would be another cancelled stage in The Netherlands, but fortunately the race organizers were able to react quickly to arrange a replacement time trial for tomorrow, on Belgian soil.
I would have liked to do the TT in my Santini skinsuit but it’s really nice to be the race leader tomorrow, then you can take advantage of the split times to see who is in front of you or the gaps behind. It’s really nice to have the time splits for the TT tomorrow and hopefully I can keep it after tomorrow and do a good last day.