The 25-year-old Dane abandons after a crash, and Jasper Stuyven sprints to 4th place on a bittersweet day for Trek-Segafredo
There are not many sprint chances in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and Mads Pedersen was unable to taste even one with a seemingly innocuous crash in the early part of Stage 3 taking the 25-year-old Dane out of this year’s race.
Pedersen went down with Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), a small two-rider crash that seemed mild. However, Trek-Segafredo understands the seriousness of a concussion. When it became evident that Pedersen was feeling the effects of hitting his head, they determined the risk was too significant for him to continue.
In November of 2019, Trek-Segafredo partnered with HeadCheck Health, Inc to launch a new concussion protocol to help make critical judgments in head injury management. Once Pedersen returned to the bus, Trek-Segafredo’s head physician Dr. Gaetano Daniele used the Headcheck unique assessment tool and confirmed Pedersen suffered a mild concussion, but no other injuries were sustained.
“It’s obviously very disappointing to abandon any race, especially at this point in the season as we prepare for our bigger goals, but health comes first,” said Pedersen. “I tried after the crash, but in the end, it was clear that it wasn’t in my best interest to keep going. Fortunately, I don’t have any physical injuries and, after a full check-up from our team doctor, it looks like it’s not a serious concussion. The team doctor will monitor the situation again this evening and tomorrow, and from there, we will plan my recovery.”
Pedersen was out of the race, but the Team still had a job to do. In the pre-race plan, the Team pinned the uphill finish to Jasper Stuyven.
“The start was easier than expected; I think a lot of teams were slightly scared about the gradual uphill that it would take a while. It was nice to see that we were not the only ones tired from the first two days,” explained Stuyven. “We took our responsibility to help control the small break since it was a good chance with the uphill finish that suits me well. The guys took good care of me, and then it was a hectic finale into the last stretch of 2.5kms.”
Being down a powerful engine like Pedersen in the tricky last kilometers does impact the leadout. Still, Stuyven had Ryan Mullen, and coupled with his own positioning skills, Stuyven was sitting in the top 10 coming into the final uphill. Then it was just about power.
“I tried my best, but I think Colbrelli is on a really good level at the moment. Fourth place is not bad, but I would have liked to be a little bit closer to the victory at least,” said Stuyven.
He added: “I like a race like Dauphine, to be honest. It makes for hard racing and makes today a hard day. I prefer this instead of a full flat stage, and everyone is coasting for 200kms and only 20k all-in. I like that we have to push a little bit.”