Thirteen races in, the 26-year-old Dane gets the highly sought-after victory in La Vuelta
Mads Pedersen just got himself and his Team another Grand Tour win this year, making the 2022 season one of his best. After winning Stage 13 of the Tour de France in July, Mads Pedersen sprinted to victory in La Vuelta today – in stage 13! For some, an unlucky number. For Mads, Stage 13 appears to be his founded sweet spot in three-week races.
“This is super nice,” exclaimed Mads. “We knew that this final was super good for me, and the boys were super focused all day. I am just happy that I could finally get the win and give back the boys something back for all the work they did so far -it’s really nice for all of us.”
Stage 13 ended in the expected bunch finish, but what separated this one from the previous sprint endings was that the last meters were uphill. It was a finish crafted for one strong-minded man and his determined team. It would take more than pure speed – which Mads proved he had plenty of after finishing in second place in three stages! – it also required raw power.
“This morning we had a plan and the whole team was super committed,” said Mads. “We put pressure on the whole team today, and in the end, I had to deliver. A bit of pressure is always good, and it can give you an extra 10% in a finale like this. I like pressure like this, and I like to give the guys back what they were working for.”
No one stood a chance against Mads’ force when the sprint unfolded. Pascal Ackermann tried by jumping first. But Mads was quick to grab his wheel, and from there… game over.
The 26-year-old Dane powered around Ackermann and even had time to look behind – and see no one close – before he raised his arms to the sky. Trek-Segafredo came for a stage win, and after Mads finished three times as runner-up in Stage 13 they finally got it.
“Alex (Kirsch) delivered me in the last corner, so there was still 800m to go, so it was perfect that Jumbo-Visma made a good hard tempo and that Pascal Ackerman jumped early. It meant I could jump with him. It was a long, long sprint – a full sprint, so a 330m sprint today.”
Whether it’s 1 centimeter or 50 meters, it doesn’t matter. A win is a win.
“I don’t care about the 2nd places,” continued Mads. “We came here for a stage win and now we have one. It’s just nice to win, after all the work, not only from myself but from everyone. I am just super happy that I could finally give the whole team, not only riders but also the staff, this victory. Whether it’s 1 centimeter or 50 meters, it doesn’t matter. A win is a win.”
Trek-Segafredo came into the race with two goals: to win a stage and the green jersey. With the victory today, Mads eighth of the season, he also added to what may be an insurmountable lead in the points jersey.
“It’s super nice to have a comfortable lead in the jersey, but it still would have been nice to have Sam (Bennett) here to keep fighting for the jersey,” he added. “We have the victory we wanted and maybe now we put a bit more focus on winning green. I think we have a few more stages that fit me well, and this should help keep the jersey as well.”