Watch out! Mads Pedersen shows good form in his first race of 2022

A strong team effort behind Mads Pedersen's second place finish in GP La Marseillaise

We are not sure if we have seen Mads Pedersen in such good shape this early in the year. In the January training camp, Mads Pedersen showed he had solid early season form, but everyone knows that training and racing are completely different animals.  However, Mads confirmed that good legs at camp are indeed good legs period. In a hilly and tougher than expected start to his 2022 season, he sprinted to second-place in Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise.

“First race of the season and it was harder than I expected it to be,” admitted Mads. “The breakaway got seven minutes and Otto (Vergaerde) had to pull hard to get it back and he did a great job.”

Otto Vergaerde puts in the dirty work early in the race.

Mads looked good all race.

From the team’s newest teammates to veteran Bauke Mollema, the entire team rolled up their sleeves for the on-form Dane.

The 174-kilometer race was peppered with climbs, but a confident Mads quietly sat back in the bunch and let his teammates contend with the action out front, first in helping control the day’s early breakaway, then putting in a massive effort to help contain the biggest threats in the final kilometers.

“In the steep climb with 40k to go the guys did exactly as we planned,” Mads continued. “At the top, I was still with Tony (Gallopin) and he was pulling really well, and we had Toms (Skujins) and Bauke (Mollema) in the first group and so everything looked fine.

“It was up and down for the final 40k and it was pretty hard. I think everyone will be feeling the legs after this race. Everyone did a great job helping get it to a sprint, and in the lead-out the boys did really well – of course, we have not done any lead-out practice with this team but I don’t think it would have changed much if I had the normal lead-out guys here.”

Bauke played a big support role on the climbs.

When you have Toms Skujins, Tony Gallopin and Bauke Mollema riding together on the final climb, there was little chance anyone could stay away, and a dangerous-looking Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) was the last man tagged back on the sweeping descent to the line.

Only a headwind and cramping legs stood between Mads and victory as he jumped first but could not hold off Amaury Capiot (Arkéa Samsic) from overtaking him in the final meters.

“The sprint was a fast downhill and headwind. At one point when Direct Energie did their lead-out with their last guy, I was ready to go, but I saw the 300m sign so I waited a bit and opened a little later,” said Mads. “With like 50 and 100m to go, I had full cramps and couldn’t get keep them behind so, yeah, a  second place.”

So close to taking the win in his first opportunity of the season.

A good start to the year for Mads.

But there is no shame in second. It was Mads first race, the first time Trek-Segafredo tackled the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise, and if not for leg cramps, it could well have been the top step.

“I am pretty happy with today, and I think the whole team is happy with the work today and the result. Good start of the season – good legs – we are ready for more,” agreed Pedersen.