Mads Pedersen wins Gent-Wevelgem in a sprint against van der Poel

Mads Pedersen outsprinted the defending World Champion after a long breakaway succeeded

Mads Pedersen wins Gent-Wevelgem in a sprint against van der Poel

After an incredible team effort and fourth place finish at Milano-Sanremo, it seemed only a matter of time before Mads Pedersen found his winning legs. At Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, he unearthed that power, sprinting from long range from a leadout position with Mathieu van der Poel on his wheel, and forcing the defending World Champion to sit up in the closing meters. Pedersen recorded his first win of the Classics season. 

“I had to believe that the sprint was good enough to beat Mathieu,” Pedersen said after the race. “With the shaky showings lately, it was hard to believe, but I had to try the sprint and nothing else. It was a gamble and I took the front because I knew he would be happy, and Deceuninck would be happy, if the bunch came back with [Jasper] Philipsen. So I had to keep the speed high and hope I still had the legs for the sprint.”

Once again, Lidl-Trek was the most aggressive team on the course. Jonathan Milan, who finished fifth after taking third in the bunch sprint, was the first solo attacker on the day with roughly 80 kilometers to go. The move forced Van der Poel to expend energy driving a select group of breakaway riders to close the gap, allowing Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven to sit behind. Lidl-Trek suffered a setback when Stuyven punctured, but Pedersen sat comfortably while Milan stayed out front for nearly 20 kilometers.

“With Johnny attacking it was the first move from the team to put pressure on the rest of the guys,” Pedersen said. “And luckily for us, Mathieu had to work there to close him. We were up for the challenge to keep going like that. Luckily for me it took a long time for Mathieu and the guys in the breakaway to close Johnny, and it made it in my favor.”

HIGHLIGHTS: 2024 Gent-Wevelgem

2024 Gent-Wevelgem Top 10

1 PEDERSEN Mads Lidl - Trek 5:36:00
2 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Alpecin - Deceuninck 
3 MEEUS Jordi BORA - hansgrohe 0:16
4 PHILIPSEN Jasper Alpecin - Deceuninck 
5 MILAN Jonathan Lidl - Trek 
6 KOOIJ Olav Team Visma | Lease a Bike 1
7 GIRMAY Biniam Intermarché - Wanty 
8 MERLIER Tim Soudal Quick-Step 1
9 GROENEWEGEN Dylan Team Jayco AlUla 
10 TRENTIN Matteo Tudor Pro Cycling Team 

Tag: classics
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