Mads Pedersen debuts his rainbow jersey as Elisa Longo Borghini and Jasper Stuyven finish on the podium in a busy Saturday of racing.
Tour de l’Eurométropole
While World Champion Mads Pedersen drew all the attention ahead of the Tour de l’Eurométropole, it was Jasper Stuyven who sprinted onto the podium despite admitting he didn’t feel his best during the race.
“In the beginning, I felt okay, but once we started racing in the hilly zone and the field split, I was never really comfortable,” admitted Stuyven. “In the finale, I tried to gamble a bit and not spend too much energy and was thinking to try and go because it was tricky and technical, but Deceuninck kept the pace really high. Then I went to the front to help Eddie (Theuns), but in one of the corners, I lost him and didn’t see him anymore, and the speed was so high I just stayed there in the front.
“In the last corner, there was a crash with one of the guys from Deceuninck. With 200m to go, I decided to try and go, but there were two other guys faster today. I think I have to be happy with the third after not feeling so good today. Of course, you always want to try to win, and when I am there in a good position, it would have been really nice to finish the job with good legs. But considering how I felt today, it’s a nice result to be on the podium.”
It was nice to be with Mads, we have not been together for a long time, and he was shining.
- Jasper Stuyven
Mads Pedersen arrived at the race sick after a hectic week but gave his best effort before pulling out in the final circuits. Ahead of the start, he had already stated he was there to work for Stuyven and Theuns. “It was a long week and no training at all,” admitted Pedersen. “And as you can also hear, I have also managed to catch a cold during the week. The body is on the limit, and at this level, it’s not easy to race when you are not 100%, and today, I was far from 100%.”
Honoring the rainbow jersey, and soaking in the atmosphere in his first start as World Champion with his teammates, Pedersen decided to race despite knowing he would not be anywhere close to the level he displayed last Sunday. “It was enjoyable to finally make a start with the jersey and especially to be back with the guys – it was a nice feeling to be with the team on the start line today,” added Pedersen.
Pedersen will finish out his season next week in Italy, racing Tre Valli Varesine on October 8 and Milano-Torino October 9. “It’s a sickness, and I don’t know how long it will take and how I will feel in the upcoming days,” answered Pedersen about his final two races. “But the most important was to be good last Sunday, and not now. I am just happy for the season, and we will see now how it will turn out the last two races that I will do.”
Giro dell’ Emilia Donne
In the 6th edition of Giro dell’ Emilia Donne, Elisa Longo Borghini finished second behind Demi Vollering (Parkhotel Valkenburg) on the steep climb into San Luca.
“The girls did well, they led me out in the best position they could have, and in the end, it was just my mistake – I went too early. I opened it up with 250m to go, and Vollering was just faster,” said Longo Borghini.
The women’s race was flat for most of the 99 kilometers before the San Luca climb to the finish that has a steep section starting with just over one kilometer to go. As a result, it was a large, mostly intact peloton fighting for positioning into the narrow entrance to the climb. Trek-Segafredo positioned Longo Borghini perfectly and the fast legs of Letizia Paternoster gave the last effort, leaving the team leader right at the front as the uphill began.
A hard pace was set at the bottom and quickly created a race of attrition, and the steep gradient did the rest.
[Team] Canyon opened the pace at the bottom, and they went pretty hard, but in hindsight also too early because this climb is all about patience. I am also not a patient rider, and eventually, this proved to be true.
Four riders remained at 500 meters to go, and 150 meters later, only three. Vollering set the pace for the final kilometer, perhaps giving false security to Longo Borghini, who gambled and jumped early as the gradient flattened. But Vollering had one more ace to play, coming around the Italian ahead of the line for the win.
“I saw that people were dropping just from the pace and I thought that 250 was a good time to go, the other years I went there, and I could make it, but I know Vollering is fast,” explained Longo Borghini, who won this race in 2015 and 2016. “I am disappointed. It is what it is; it’s the end of the season, and I don’t say I was distracted but maybe not quite as focused as usual, and you make mistakes, and today I made a mistake.”
Giro dell’ Emilia
In the men’s race that followed, Bauke Mollema finished in fourth place after an aggressive race by Trek-Segafredo.
“We were always in good position the whole race, it was really nice,” said Mollema. “First with Jacopo (Mosca) in the front, after with (Giulio) Ciccone in the breakaway, and then Gianluca (Brambilla) on the last lap, so we didn’t have to work behind. It’s always a hard race with five times on a steep climb like this, and every lap guys were getting dropped, and the group getting smaller.
“I was feeling quite good the whole day and tried to save energy where possible. The last climb was full gas, and I did a good sprint so it was a pity the two guys from [EF Education First] were in front. I was with a small group with Valverde, Fuglsang, and Ulissi, and we gave them a little bit too much [lead] and couldn’t close to them in the sprint.”
Mollema will race again tomorrow in Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, a race he won last year, before ending his season with Il Lombardia next week Sunday. “My legs are okay, so it was a good start to the week. Four more races for me ending with Lombardia next week, and it’s nice to show that the condition is still good in October,” he ended.
The Trek-Segafredo lineups for Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli:
Elisa Longo Borghini, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Abi Van Twisk, Lotta Lepisto, and Anna Plichta.
Bauke Mollema, Toms Skujins, Jacopo Mosca, Julien Bernard, Nicola Conci, Michael Gogl, and Matteo Moschetti.