Mads Pedersen took his triptych of victories on Stage 19 of The Vuelta a Espana and there was nothing anyone could do do about it. Trek-Segafredo announced their plan to take the stage at the start of the day, and boy did they deliver. They controlled the breakaway, ensured their man in the green jersey survived the two climbs and then delivered him perfectly with a glorious lead out. From the minute he swung out of the slipstream of Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ), there was never a doubt who would cross the line first. Bahrain Victorious’ Fred Wright rode superbly but just could not get past the Dane, he pipped fast finishing Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) to second on the day. There was no change in the GC, but Primoz Roglic had plenty to say in a Jumbo-Visma press release.
Wow! I bet no one was expecting UAE Team Emirate’s Marc Soler to grab victory on stage 5 of La Vuelta a Espana. To be honest, I’m still not sure I can explain it! In true Soler style, the mercurial Spaniard chased like crazy to get into the break, got dropped in a finale backloaded with climbs, somehow made it back, shot off the front solo on the Alto del Vivero, held his advantage on the descent and sailed over the line, arms aloft with four seconds to spare on his chasers. With Jumbo-Visma happy to let the race lead go to someone in the break-of-the-day, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) played his cards – and Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) – perfectly to move into the red jersey for the second time in his career.
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.