Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

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Paris-Nice leads overall after Mads Pedersen sprints to win second stage

After a 163.7km race, Mads Pedersen took the overall points lead in “Run to the Sun” in a chaotic second stage sprint.

The Trek-Segafredo rider beat Jumbo-Visma’s Olav Kooij for second, with Pedersen’s teammate Dane Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) finishing third after crossing the line. Pedersen took the race lead from Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quick Step) thanks to a 10-second bonus.

A long run to the finish line on the wide roads not far south of Paris proved to be a waiting race – not just for the final sprint, but for a mischievously placed roundabout in the final kilometer, waiting Sprinters stumble and their teams. Potential winners such as Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) were left behind as the race thinned out, with only the 500m gap open again.

Pedersen is best known for winning the 2019 World Championships road race at Harrogate, his second victory of the season – the versatile driver has already won the time trial at the Etoile des Bessèges.

“The season started well, Paris-Nice was a great game, so of course it’s nice to win,” he said after the game.

“It was really busy. We had the 10k full straight and then the last roundabout, but the team did a good job of getting us out of trouble.”

He applauded his teammate Alex [Kirsch], who Pedersen said gave him a “perfect lead.”

As a result of his hard work, he is also very happy, although a little confused, he still got the leader’s jersey.

“Yeah, that’s really good,” he said. “It’s never been tried in a match like this before, so it’s a good thing for TTT.”

He said the team was “fully focused” on the third stage of the team time trial, a 32.2-kilometre stretch, which will take place after moving south tomorrow (Tuesday) to Dam-Pierre Amberly.

“We’re doing the TT with [Mathias] Skejmose, so it’s really important to have a good team time trial for him tomorrow, so focus tomorrow,” Pedersen said.