News: Mads Pedersen wins Gent-Wevelgem

It was one of Mads Pedersen’s greatest wins as the former world champion nailed another sprint to take a massive victory in Gent-Wevelgem, the cobbled classics’ opening race – Luke Rowe 12th

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News: Mads Pedersen wins Gent-Wevelgem

It was not Mads Pedersen’s greatest win but certainly will go into his palmares as one of his biggest. The former world champion nailed another sprint to take a massive victory in Gent-Wevelgem, the cobbled classics’ opening race.

The final kilometers were non-stop thrills as nine riders – the strongest that rose to the fore after over 225 grueling and intermittently wet and cold kilometers – launched attack after attack. The elastic didn’t break until the final 1500 meters when three riders finally broke free.

“Three guys went from the group, and I hoped Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert would close it, but they didn’t. Then I managed to jump across, stay in the last wheel, and make my sprint from there. I like long sprints. They fit me better. It was a pretty hard race, especially in weather conditions like this, raining and then drying up, but I know how to handle this, so it was good for me. It’s definitely one of my biggest victories!”

Pedersen waited, showing a patience of experience, then jumped across the gap to the leading trio. In the sprint, he powered from fourth position, overtaking Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Matteo Trentin (CCC Team), who finished second and third. It was his first Classics win.

“I’m definitely learning more and more every time I’m racing, and today I tried to play it a little bit smarter than usual, and luckily it paid off. I had enough [energy] to jump across and also make a sprint, which was good. It was a decision that I had to make in a few seconds. The group started to slow down a little bit, and I said to myself, ‘Okay, it’s all or nothing.’ I had to make a decision and try.

“I knew I had to go alone, and hopefully, I could make it across. I might still end up fourth or even behind, but at least I had tried. Today it paid off, but maybe next time it will bite me in the ass, and then I’m out of top 10.”

The 24-year-old Dane is beginning to make his mark in the world of cycling, building on a second place in the 2018 Tour of Flanders and winning the 2019 World Championships. There is no doubt he is heading into the Tour of Flanders in a week as one of the clear favorites.

“I did well in Flanders two years ago, and now I’m showing I’m one of the guys that can win classics. It means a lot to me to win here. I missed the Worlds, and one of the reasons was to be ready for the classics.

“The whole team was awesome today. Before starting the classics, we had a good talk and decided that we would race every day like it’s the last race of the season. You never know what can happen, so every day it’s all-in. That’s how we’re going to race this Wednesday and again Sunday.”

Matteo Trentin: “It was a really hard race today although we probably all predicted that. I am happy with my race overall and the team did a good job in the opening part before the first time up the Kemmelberg and I was there with good legs. I tried to attack a lot of times and even, in the end, I felt strong enough to make that final move inside two kilometers to go, it’s just a pity Mads [Pedersen] could make it back across. However, at the end of the day, the best man won and he deserved it. It was a race where the guy with the best legs would win and that was him today.”

“The final selection was really, really strong and everybody was fast so you couldn’t really predict who was going to win out of a group like that. We were all attacking each other because any move could have been the good one and actually when I worked with Mathieu [Van Der Poel] to close the gap to the group that went going into three kilometers to go, I thought my legs were maybe going to explode but in the end, I still had a little energy for one last kick.”

“It’s a nice podium result and there’s still one race to go so, I feel good and actually even though I’ve been feeling good since the restart of the season, there have been some situations where I wasn’t there to contest the victory. Today I was and even though it wasn’t a win, I proved that the legs are there and that’s what all of these Classics are about ultimately.”

Florian Sénéchal: “I am happy with this result. Of course, a win would have been nicer, but when you think that I crashed today, then how tough the conditions were out there and the depth of the select group that battled out for victory, I think second is a solid result. I felt good throughout the day, we were very motivated to do something, and we kept attacking to shape the race, but one guy was stronger at the end. Nevertheless, we can draw a lot of confidence from this race, which is really important ahead of the final appointments of the season”, Florian said after becoming just the second Frenchman in the last 23 years to finish on the Gent-Wevelgem podium.

1 Mads Pedersen Trek-Segafredo 5:19:20
2 Florian Sénéchal Deceuninck-Quick Step + 00
3 Matteo Trentin CCC Team + 00
4 Alberto Bettiol EF Pro Cycling + 01
5 Stefan Küng Groupama-FDJ + 03
6 John Degenkolb Lotto Soudal + 04
7 Yves Lampaert Deceuninck-Quick Step + 04
8 Wout Van Aert Team Jumbo – Visma + 07
9 Mathieu van der Poel Alpecin-Fenix + 08
10 Dylan Teuns Bahrain-McLaren + 1:40

12 Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers + 1:56
35 Jake Stewart Groupama-FDJ + 3:02
39 Fred Wright Bahrain-McLaren + 3:02
44 Thomas Scully EF Pro Cycling + 3:09
74 Mark Cavendish Bahrain-McLaren + 6:11
83 Christopher Lawless INEOS Grenadiers + 6:11

Full Result Here:

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