Mads Pedersen protects race lead and awaits ‘race of truth’

Mads sprints to third in Stage 2 and will wear the blue leader’s jersey into a critical race against the clock in Belgium

Mads Pedersen and his teammates successfully defended the leader’s jersey in Stage 2 at the Baloise Belgium Tour with third place in a punchy finish. While Mads couldn’t repeat his Stage 1 win, he was satisfied with the result and team effort ahead of a key time trial Friday.

The race required less from Trek-Segafredo with an easier parcours than the challenging terrain of Stage 1. Still, when Mads punctured with 30 kilometers remaining, the Team was ready, and quickly had the race leader back into business.

“I punctured, but it was in quite a good place, and we had time enough to come back. And the guys were there straight away and towed me back to the front,” said Mads.

The principal job of the day was getting Mads into the best position for a tricky finale with a sharp rise to the line. Usually, a perfect finish for the Dane, but today Jasper Philipsen played it better.

Mads explained: “It was all about being in good position for the last corner. It was really hectic with around 1k to go, and we got split up a bit, so it was not an ideal sprint today. It was a tough sprint, and Jasper (Philipsen) is superfast, so I knew it would be difficult to make another win today. I am pretty satisfied with the 3rd place, and we keep the leader’s jersey. Everyone did a good job, from Jakob (Egholm) pulling from the beginning to all the guys helping in the lead-out, so in general a nice day.”

With his third place, Mads added a four-second time bonus and ensured the blue jersey remains on his shoulders, at least into the critical time trial tomorrow. Whether Mads will still have the blue jersey after the race of truth will be determined in an 11.8-kilometer test, a course similar to the Grand Depart in Copenhagen that Pedersen would so love to win.

“Of course, I have to try and do a good TT tomorrow,” said Mads, who already had Stage 3 red-circled. “Now it’s also about keeping the leader’s jersey, and it’s a good preparation for the Tour, so full gas tomorrow. And then we will see how (the rest of the race) goes.”

Still in blue after Stage 2