Unstoppable Mads!

Unstoppable Mads!

It was a thrilling finale for Stage 3 at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, with the last man of the breakaway caught at the flame rouge and a succeeding counterattack almost stealing the victory.
Except for Mads Pedersen spoiling everyone’s chances. Again.

Kevin Vauquelin’s (Arkea Samsic) counterattack in the last kilometer was a good one. He had a gap with only meters to go and looked to have the win in the bag.
Then a Mads explosion. The race leader shot out of the bunch. The yellow jersey came over the Arkea rider just ahead of the line. Game over.

“It was not easy; the whole team worked really well,” said Pedersen, who again played off a whole-team effort to pull back the breakaway. “Alex [Kirsch] left me in a really good postion with around 1.5 -2 kilometers to go. I went in the wheels of FDJ as they had a good lead out, and then [Kevin Vauquelin] did a really good attack. That meant I had to do an early sprint to catch him but luckily it was a small uphill finish, and it was hard for a solo guy to keep the bunch away. I caught him on the finish line.”
In Stage 2, Mads opened his sprint early but the outcome was not in his favor. However, in a less-controlled finish a day later and with no time to make a calculated decision, the result reversed.
‘It was a bit of a hectic sprint,” Mads explained, “and hard to find a wheel, but the moment I found a good wheel it was quite okay. To make the decision when to start the sprint, I can’t say how I made that. It was more that I knew I had to go from afar otherwise we were sprinting for second. I would rather risk to go early for the win than waiting and finishing second. Luckily today it paid off.”

Kevin Vauquelin finished second and Mark Cavendish rounded out the top three.

“It’s been a good week; it’s nice to have a shape like this and especially with Paris-Roubaix coming up,” added Mads. “The boys did a massive work the whole day: Filippo (Baroncini) starting pulling early, and then Kampy (Alexander Kamp) took over with really impressive work, and then Markus (Hoelgaard) to do the last bit.  We had to count a bit on a few other teams to help catch back the last guy from EF, but yeah, we were not the only ones who wanted a sprint.”

Then, the next question came: Are you strongest in the race?  

Mads replied: “Oh, I don’t know, it’s a really strong peloton here. Today it just worked out well for us again.”

A humble response. Mads will have a chance to give a more definite answer with his legs in the final day Friday, another expected stage for the sprinters.

“A huge thanks to the boys today – nice to give them a victory today. Now all eyes on tomorrow,” ended Mads.
Mads takes a 19-second lead into the final day. With his form and a strong, motivated team around him, who will take home the yellow jersey may have already been answered.