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Bobby & Jens podcast: Mads Pedersen comes of age

Pedersen, who describes himself as an “arrogant asshole” explains how he's maintained the edge that helps him win big races.

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“Congratulations on being the first loser.” Those words are funny to Mads Pedersen now, but their initial sting still fuels the young Dane’s white-hot desire to win every race he enters. The congratulations came just moments after Pedersen finished second at the Tour Flanders in 2018, and the words came from his own father.

In this week’s extra-lively (and occasionally expletive-filled) episode of the Bobby & Jens podcasts, co-hosts Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt extract a variety of similarly telling tidbits from Pedersen, who of course went on to win the 2019 road race world championships, 2020 Gent-Wevelgem, and this spring’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, among other races.

They chat about Pedersen’s early struggles as a boisterous and head-strong athlete, and how he channeled his energy into cycling, gradually also learning how to measure his effort and ride more strategically. They commiserate about the miserable weather and roads in Denmark (check out Pedersen’s secret puncture-proofing trick), and the roller-coaster of training and racing during COVID-19.

The refreshingly unfiltered Pederson recalls his years of competing against and occasionally beating Mathieu van der Poel in the junior ranks, with an amusing window into their trash-talking and a reminder that — while he lost the U23 world title to van der Poel — he retains bragging rights as the “big boy world champion.”

And because Bobby and Jens are, well, Bobby and Jens, you’ll be treated to a lively debate on the relative merits of racing with science vs. sensation, with Pedersen weighing in with sharp opinions about the value of power meters, how much data is too much, and how soon is too soon for young riders to train by the numbers.

More good reading:
Mads Pedersen: Leaner, meaner, wiser, and quietly confident for 2021
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Mads Pedersen wins scintillating sprint finale
Day in the Life: Mads Pedersen

Today’s episode also features analysis of a busy week of racing on the Pro Tour as riders prepare for the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, plus the winner of this week’s “Shut Up, Legs!” winner (and your chance to vote on next week’s contenders).

“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly podcast from VeloNews starring former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt, and featuring conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.

Send your questions and “Shut Up, Legs!” votes to or @bobbyandjens.