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Mads Pedersen has some “unfinished business” for the cobbled classic.
The Trek-Segafredo rider has been working hard to back up the performance after scoring a breakthrough in his first Tour of Flanders in 2018.
He returned to the top 10 for the first time in Flanders this season with a sixth-place finish, and Paris-Roubaix has never been kind to him. It was partly due to misfortune, with Trek suffering a series of unfortunate crashes and mechanical failures at the 2022 Roubaix, but he admits he has been legless at other times as well.
“I still have unfinished business on the classic side,” Pedersen told Velo news Trek-Segafredo training camp in Calpe on Tuesday. “I’m focused on the classics. I won’t say Roubaix because every time I say I’m going to crash or something stupid, but I have to be there in the classics and fight to win.
“In Roubaix, I still feel like I’ve been unlucky two years in a row, all the other classics this year, like Flanders, I’ve been good but not good enough to follow the best. So maybe I’m in that area Missed a point and I have to improve by 2% next year when we start the classics.”
Despite his struggles in the classics in recent years, the game still holds a firm place in his heart. There is something intangible and unexplainable about these games that makes them a fixture on his annual calendar.
“Honestly, I can’t tell you [I like classics] Because they’re a shit race. It’s fucking cold, long and wet. It’s everything you don’t like when you have to ride a bike, but it’s special. It’s the atmosphere, it’s the fans, it’s the state of the game. It sounds a little crazy, but it incorporates a lot of things that make it special. “
Pedersen has had success in the classics and won the Paris-Roubaix Juniors in 2013, but his results in elite competition have not been great. He has failed to finish in two of the five races he has ridden, and his best finish was 51st in 2019.
Since the introduction of junior Paris-Roubaix in 2003, no champion has gone on to win the elite title, with Jasper Tuyven finishing fourth in 2017, the closest anyone has come. Pederson wants to change that.
“It’s hard to explain because it’s just a feeling, always liking, like you either like a car or you don’t,” Pedersen said of his love of “Hell in the North.” “
“Roubaix, I think this race is more for me. I won it my junior year, so it would be nice to have this little pebble work with the big pebble too. It’s crazy that I like it because I actually Never played well in that game, but hopefully it’s time for a change.”
Supporting major events in 2022
Despite a disappointing spring, Pedersen enjoyed a very strong 2022 season. The Dane has nine victories throughout the year, including stages in Paris-Nice and the Tour de France.
His best performance came at the España, where he won three stages and was runner-up on four others to finish in the points standings.
“It’s the best season I’ve had so far, you know, it’s been a long, consistent season. It’s hard to say ‘best’ season when I’ve won a world title or something, but if I One has to be picked and that 100% will be 2022,” Pedersen told Velo news.
“I think it’s mainly because of the stability, I’m getting older and more experienced. I also realize I don’t have as many years to do it, so now is not the time to waste another year flying around . Now is the time to focus on the competition, whether it is the Bessèges or the Tour, the focus is the same every game.”
It’s going to be tough for Pedersen to hit the 2022 level, but he’s already starting to set some big goals.shortly after talking with Velo news On Tuesday, he announced his intention to compete in the Giro d’Italia next season and complete a hat-trick of Grand Tour victories.
If he can do that, it could be a pretty good year for the 26-year-old. He doesn’t expect to raise his arms in 2023 like he did this year, but that won’t stop him from giving it his all all year long, and his expectations are much higher.
“The hardest thing is always to keep performing. You know, people expect a lot from me right now, but I think it’s going to be difficult to keep performing like this year,” he said. “I don’t expect more, I expect less than this year. It would be crazy to expect a season like the one I just had, but I think I can also set the bar high and expect a lot from myself, which is what I do.
“I’m happy to have another season like the one we just finished. Maybe not winning, but I think the most important thing is to be consistent and fight for the win.”