The Danish World Champion benefits from a strong leadout in a chaotic first stage in Nice.
The rain fell, and so did the riders. So many that the peloton took matters in-hand and neutralized the race through the final downhills, gifting a tricky first stage to the sprinters as the 2020 Tour de France officially opened Saturday.
Trek-Segafredo had the savviness of its Classics trio Jasper Stuyven, Edward Theuns, and Mads Pedersen – all fast on any given day but none pure sprinters – to handle the madness that comes in the Tour’s first days, and they delivered in a messy sprint finish.
Stuyven and Theuns masterfully piloted the World Champion in the final kilometers, keeping safe at the front and missing the massive pileup at three kilometers to go. Pedersen finished it off with a brilliant, well-timed sprint that was only bettered by Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates).
For a Tour rookie, even a rainbow decorated one, it was impressive. And it earned him a trip to the podium for the white jersey as Best Young Rider.
It was pretty hard actually. This is my first Tour, so I actually realized today that the average speed is quite high the whole day. The peloton stuck together as a unit today and took it easy on the tricky downhills.
On the bike you could actually see how much oil was on the road so it was nice to see the peloton stand together and decide to [descend] together and start racing again at the bottom.
For me to finish second was super nice, the boys did a really good leadout, but I lost them a little bit. Now that I was this close, I would have really liked to make the win, but I think I can be happy with a second place. Of course, I’m racing to win so I’m a little disappointed, but I can also be happy.
It’s super nice to start my first Tour, the only thing I could hope for more was obviously the win. I’m happy with how the boys did the sprint for me today and how we’re going together.
With Lizzie Deignan winning the women’s one-day La Course by Le Tour de France earlier, it was a superb Saturday in Nice for Trek-Segafredo and a great start to the three-week Grand Tour.