None better than Mads Pedersen in uphill sprints

Mads Pedersen wins Stage 16 and dedicates his second La Vuelta victory to his teammate

It was a tranquil race for 170 of the 189 kilometers of Stage 16, which all changed with the first climb at 15 kilometers to go and culminated with a dramatic 2.5-kilometer rise to the line.

Similar to Stage 13, it was a stage suited perfectly to the red-hot Mads Pedersen, and before the race, he made a promise to his teammate Alex Kirsch.

In the end, Mads delivered – but it was not as straightforward as he would have liked!

“I promised Kirsch to win today.  He missed the birth of his daughter yesterday and the whole team worked really hard to give him a second present in a few days, so I had to deliver for Alex. But it was a really tough final. When Primoz went it was really tough to close [the gap]. In the end it was a perfect finale with this little downhill, if we didn’t have it, it definitely would have been harder to win. I am super happy – this win is for Alex and his wife and new baby.”

While it was a day off for most, not so for Trek-Segafredo. Dario Cataldo ticked off kilometer after kilometer at the front of the bunch, keeping the two-man breakaway in check.

And when, finally, the first significant hill neared, positioning became the foremost concern for the GC teams and those seeking to mix it up for the stage win. The pace, slow for most of the day, turned insane.  Seventeen fiery kilometers remained.

And, as always, Alex Kirsch had Mads Pedersen on his wheel, right where they needed to be, doing what they do best.

Until Primoz Roglic threw a terrible twist into the ending. At least for Mads. At the start of the final uphill with just under three kilometers remaining, Roglic put in a searing attack.

Taking care of the green jersey.

Dario did the grunt work in Stage 16.

“I didn’t like this finale at all – it was way too long and hard!” admitted Mads. “Primoz made a good attack and got a good gap. Ackermann was straight on his wheel, he played it well, and I really had to dig deep to close it. I was really on the limit when I came back on their wheels.”


After Mads retagged, Ackermann played everything in his book of tricks to gain an advantage. He slowed, forcing Mads in front of him.

“Pascal wanted me in front of him and on Primoz’s wheel, and luckily we had a slight downhill where I could recover a bit,” continued Mads. “Primoz went all out to gain some seconds which was lucky for me that he wanted to go that hard all the way to the finish, so I could basically start my sprint with 220 meters to go, I think, just after the roundabout.”

Roglic never slowed, giving a perfect lead out before he moved aside to let the others contest the stage. And for Mads, the rest was easy. The only unfortunate part: Roglic hit the deck hard just ahead of the line.

“It’s a pity that Roglic crashed,” sympathized Mads. “There were so many spectators making noise that I didn’t hear the crash; I was only focused on sprinting, and I only found out afterward. He hasn’t been lucky this year and I hope it is not too bad so that he can keep fighting for the victory of the Vuelta. It’s a pity stuff like this happens, I don’t know what happened, it was close to the finish line, and I feel really sorry for him.”


With the win, Mads Pedersen has almost assured the green points jersey will be his in Madrid, taking a lead of 220 points into the final five days.