Lidl-Trek enjoyed a perfect start to Tour de la Provence with Mads Pedersen storming to victory in the Prologue. The Dane started the race as the clear favorite, though few knew what to expect of his 20-year-old Swedish teammate Jakob Söderqvist, who ended the day in second place and best young rider. Söderqvist, a rider from the Lidl-Trek development team, is getting his first experience of racing with the big boys and has wasted no time in showing why he was offered the opportunity.
Pedersen pushed a huge 60-tooth SRAM chainring around the 5km course to stop the clock in 5’20” at a staggering speed of 56.25kmh. Only Söderqvist was able to come close to the Dane, finishing six seconds down.
Mads Pedersen: “You know a win is a win so in the end if it’s 10 seconds or two seconds it doesn’t matter, but of course it’s nice to put in some decent time on the rest of the field already. But, 11 seconds to the opponents from the other teams is not so much. We still have some hard stages to go and the race just started. We’ll try to fight for another win tomorrow and take it day by day. The weather will also be a bit worse tomorrow and we will see how it goes. The young gun (Jakob Söderqvist) will also have to show himself the next few days so I think we will have an exciting week of racing.”
Jakob Söderqvist: “Right now my body is a bit empty so I don’t feel much at all, it’s a weird feeling but it’s also surreal. I think tonight it will settle a bit and I’m sure it’ll feel pretty good. It was a five-minute effort so it’s like an all-out test. There’s not much pacing to it, just trying not to blow up in the first minute and then just keep holding the power. Some corners could have been better but there’s not a lot to complain about. Today I just had a really good feeling.”