Tour de France 2022 : Stage 13 – Mads Pedersen plays smart and strong for the stage

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) delivered the first lion plushie to the Trek-Segafredo team bus on Stage 13 of the Tour de France. The Dane was the strongest and smartest of a strong, smart seven-man breakaway and rode a perfect finale – jumping clear of Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) and Israel-Premier Tech’s Hugo Houle to claim his maiden Tour de France podium. After a day of jangling nerves brought on by unpredictable winds, a little echelon action, searing temperatures and a fast race pace, the GC contenders will be relieved to cross the finish line with all time gaps unchanged.

I remember a time when I was ecstatic if there were more than two Danes selected to ride the Tour de France. Now we have 10 – T E N!!! Three of them have won a stage, one styled the polka pox and one wears the maillot jaune. WHAT IS THIS???? You’ll have to forgive the typos VeloVoices fans (and our beloved editor), but I might be a tad over exuberant today (spoiler alert – I WILL – hangs dannebrog bunting EVERYWHERE).

Let me tell you the tale of the day the break made it

Are you settled comfortably? Then I shall begin.

At this stage in a Grand Tour, some riders seem to appear in the breaks on a regular basis – they are the strongest, the ones who can bury the pain for 24 more hours. If ever there was stage demanding a break of rouleur engines, this was it. They not only had to contend with a leg-sapping parcours in energy-sapping conditions, they also had to try and snap the will of the sprinters teams. Seven men made it: Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) slipped away first, and were joined by Fred Wright, Hugo Houle, Mads Pedersen and his teammate Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo).

They worked as a cohesive unit battling to keep a gap over the chasers. Simmons was dropped after a huge effort to keep Pedersen safe over the climbs. The sextet battled on. It wasn’t until 12km to go that the final sprint team (see Bike-Exchange Jayco later) gave up the chase and they knew they were going to contest the stage victory.

While pundits pontificated on how Mads would probably not win from the group, Mads just tightened his shoes and got his race smarts on.

In a way the pundits were right. All five of those riders would not want to take Mads to the line, his sprint is to be feared in a normal stage, his sprint at the end of a long gruelling day even more so (think Harrogate in the rain for his world title). As he said himself post-race, his best chance was to split the group. He took his chance with 10km to go, unleashing a cheeky yet devastating attack just as Ganna was reaching into his jersey pocket.

Wright and Houle bridged over to him and the trio again worked well together to keep the chasing three behind them. As they faced the uphill finish, both Houle and Wright took their chance but each time Mads hauled them back. He would not be denied. He kept his cool, put himself between his rivals, waited, waited, then BOOM! lit the afterburners. They could not hold his wheel and he was away over the line, arms aloft, rainbow armbands glinting in the late sun. You probably heard me screaming from your own front room!

The race smarts

Isn’t it great when the timing works out

In his own words – as honest as always

I can’t leave the Breakaway section without making it very clear how impressed I was with all seven riders. It was a fast, hot, brutal day and they had to work hard to even get the sniff of a chance. On any other day I would love to see any of them take a win at this tour – and especially Fred Wright. You can DO IT! Chapeau, gentlemen!

What happened to the sprinters?

There aren’t many out-and-out sprint stages at the Tour this year, and this was one that looked to give the fast men a slim fighting chance.

The Quicksteppers and Lotto Soudal worked to keep the break under control, easing off the pace to help their sprinters over the climbs and piling the pace on when they had to.

Fabio Jakobsen (QuickStep Alpha Vinyl) punctured and had to work his way back on, this scuppered his chances and the team switched to work for Florian Senechal.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) looked to be on a great day, climbing well and being looked after as his team worked at the front. In an awful turn of events he crashed heavily as the peloton zoomed around a corner with 70km to go.

After medical attention, he carried on. The Alpecin-Deceuninck team car paced him back, which sent twitter into a frenzy of speculation.

He made it back to the groups, but the 6.6% ascent of the Cat 3 Côte de Saint-Romain-en-Gal was too much and he had to let go.

Dylan Groenewegen. With his two rivals out of the running, you would think Bike-Exchange would be working for Dylan. They were not visible at the front keeping the break within reach, perhaps not so strange given the Quicksteppers and Lotto had all that covered. The GC teams massed to the front on the Côte de Saint-Romain-en-Gal and the gap to break stretched out to over 3 mins. However, Mr G had got over climb…

SUDDENLY Bike Exchange mass at the front and begin riding like fury with Jack Bauer and Amund Grøndahl Jansen taking all sorts of risks.

The gap came down, but not quick enough

It all seems so strange, why didn’t they pull earlier? If Groenewegen hadn’t got over the climb, surely Michael Mathews would have. Just another of the those BEX conundrums.

The last word

I will need a fainting couch


Stage 13 results

1 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 4:13:03

2 Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) same time

3 Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) s.t

4 Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +0:30

5 Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) same time

GC Top 10

1 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 50:47:34

2 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +2:22

3 Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:26

4 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +2:35

5 Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +3:44

6 Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea-Samsic) +3:58

7 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +4:07

8 Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:39

9 Enric Mas (Movistar) +9:32

10 Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe) +10:06

All the jerseys

Embed from Getty Images

Leader’s jersey : Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

King of the Mountains jersey : Simon Geschke (Cofidis)

Young Rider Jersey : Tadej Pogacar (UAE)

Most combative : Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo)

Team competition : INEOS Grenadiers

For the full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Go here for the official Tour de France website

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