Mads Pedersen wins the elite men’s World Championships road race
With torrential rain and winds returning to Yorkshire it was going to be day that pushed the best cyclists in the world to their limits. The strongest proved to be Mads Pedersen who survived the ultimate test to give Denmark its first male winner at the UCI World Championship.
At the end of a cold, wet and unbelievable grueling 262 kilometers, Pedersen showed he was the strongest, beating Matteo Trentin (Italy/Mitchelton-Scott) and Stefan Küng Switzerland/Groupama – FDJ.
“It’s unbelievable. I didn’t expect this when we started this morning. It was an unbelievable day,” said Pedersen struggling to comprehend his feat.
“The team plan was to get me out in the early final (laps) and then (teammates) Valgren and Fuglsang would come from behind. But in the end, they didn’t follow van der Poel and Trentin when they came to my group. From there on it was just survive, survive, survive and then hope for the best in the sprint,” he explained.
The days cold wet conditions saw many of the strongest riders struggling, and a relentless process of attrition saw the peloton started splitting into fragments with many long given up any ambition greater than making it home upright.
The Danish rider had worked his way into an elite group in the last 50km and was one of only three riders still in contention on the very last drag up Parliament Street, Trentin and van der Poel . Van der Poel despite being a strong favourite faltered and t was Trentin who kicked off the sprint for victory. Pederesen had reserves of power and proved the fastest finisher passing the Italian before throwing his arms aloft in triumph to take the rainbow stripes. Tenacious Trentin meanwhile, clung on for second place on the podium with Switzerland’s Stefan Kung crossing the line two seconds back in third.
“I just hoped that when I saw the finish line, all the pain would be gone, and I could do a good sprint. It’s six and a half hours on the bike so everyone is on the limit and so anything could happen in that sprint,” said Pedersen.
“You had to be focused all day and stay in the front all the time. But it’s one of the last races of the season, so it’s all about keeping that focus for six and a half hours and don’t have any bad luck and hope for the best. This is every rider’s dream to wear this jersey – for me to do it now? It’s unbelievable.”
Men’s Elite Road Race Results: