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Vuelta a Espana

Mads Pedersen hopeful about Vuelta a España success: ‘We still have some good opportunities’

Dane says he was boxed in during stage 3 sprint.

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Runner-up for the second day in a row at the Vuelta a España, Mads Pedersen has sounded a note of optimism Sunday, saying that his chances were affected by the way things played out on the stage 3 finale and that he believes things could work out better in the remaining stages.

The former world champion talked through the final kilometer, thanking his Trek-Segafredo team and explaining what went wrong.

“Daan [Hoole] was there to do leadout, doing really well, keeping us out of problems,” he said. “Alex [Kirsch], we know the story, it is pretty much the same. He leaves me on the wheel of Sam [Bennett].

“And Sam, he opens the sprint. It was a headwind sprint, so it was like, ‘okay, perfect.’ I would open a moment later, but I picked the wrong way. I went to the right, but I think [Dan] McLay from Arkéa, him and Sam came a bit together and I got boxed in. So I had to stop pedalling and be a bit on the brakes and then go left and then start the sprint again.

“It destroyed the chances of winning the stage, but it shows good for the rest of the Vuelta. We have still some good opportunities to go.”

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Pedersen has had a strong season, clocking up six wins including stage 13 of the Tour de France. He won that after a day in the breakaway, beating Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) and Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) in their three-up sprint into Saint-Etienne.

Adding to that season tally at the Vuelta a España is a big goal and while things didn’t work out on Saturday and Sunday due to Bennett’s success, he was quick to praise his team.

“The boys did a really, really good job today. Everyone was committed. Juan [Pedro López] pulling from the beginning and [Dario] Cataldo taking over. It was not an easy break to control so they did really, really well.

“I think our young guns here really learned that it is actually nicer to stay up there with us in the finals than it is to be in position in 80. So both Juan Pedro [López] and [Antonio] Tiberi really learned something new by staying with us. Especially Tiberi, he did super good, he was still there with still three ks to go, so that was really impressive.”

He also praised Hoole and Kirsch for the work they did close to the line.

The Vuelta now heads to Spain and while the coming day are much hillier, Pedersen will pick and choose the stages which suit and try to transform second place into first.