Mads Pedersen wins Tour du Poitou-Charentes
Trek-Segafredo successfully defended the leader’s jersey in the final stage, and Mads Pedersen claimed the overall title in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes Friday. It was the first professional stage win for the 21-year-old, who had also won the Danish road title earlier this season, confirming this young talent will be a name often heard in the years ahead.
Pedersen placed a firm grasp on the race lead after claiming valuable time bonuses in the breakaway of stage two and a convincing win in the time trial in stage four, taking a 35-second lead into the fifth and final stage. It was a decent buffer, but Pedersen knew it would take a team effort to ensure the win, and admitted he was a little anxious going into the final stage.
“I was a little bit nervous for today because there are strong guys behind me and the climb in the finale I thought maybe they could go and take some seconds,” said Pedersen. “But after the TT yesterday I was feeling quite confident, and also with the team, we have here; I had the feeling they would keep it together until the final. I was a little bit nervous but more for my own legs – I really believed in the whole team and that they could do it.”
It was Pedersen’s first time defending a race lead, and he calmly let his Trek-Segafredo go to work: to a man they controlled the three-man breakaway for most of the 158-kilometer race and protected him until the final climb to assure he would take home one of the biggest victories of his promising career.
“It took quite a long time for the breakaway to go, around 30kms, but that was perfect for us as we didn’t have to pull already from the beginning. Then when the three guys went the guys started pulling straight away and they did a really good job and kept me in a good position until we hit the climbs on the circuit the first time. And then I still had four guys with me. Then Kiel (Reijnen) put me into the final climb in almost third position, and Ruben (Guerriero) was with me all the way to the finish.”
“It’s really, really nice to win this race, but even nicer how we did it as a team today,” he added. “I see it as more a team victory than as a single victory.”
The attacks, as expected, materialized on the final climb, and Pedersen – guarded against expending any energy all race – was more than ready.
“The third time on the last climb some guys tried to attack, and I followed the first attack, but he stopped at the top. And then after the top, there were three guys who attacked, but I knew they were a few minutes behind in the GC so I could just let them go. Then Sky and BMC worked until the finish,” explained Pedersen matter-of-factly.
Team Director Alain Gallopin added: “The team was really good today. I told them to be careful of Direct Energie as they live in this area so to be careful if they attack in the wind. But we controlled, and then close to the finish Movistar attacked, and Mads reacted very well. It was perfect. The team was again very good today, and I am very happy for Mads. And for me, it was very nice to win with a young rider.”
Pedersen finished safely in 13th place to cement the overall win, and leading him across the line was the 23-year-old Portuguese champion, Ruben Guerreiro, who crossed in 10th – two Trek-Segafredo young guns with promising futures.