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The Trek-Segafredo rider made sure he was first to the line, no if’s, and’s or butt’s.
“I don’t care about those other second places,” Pedersen said. “I am just happy that I finally won a stage, and also I could give my whole team this stage victory. They are doing good work today and everyone was committed. I wanted to give the whole team and staff the stage victory”
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His impressive kick confirmed the Dane is on top form, yet he will not be racing the world championships later this month in Australia.
For Pedersen, who also won a stage at the Tour de France in July and won the world title in 2019, the worlds simply would have been a race too far.
“The shape is good, but I also have a life, I also have a family at home,” Pedersen said. “I didn’t see them a lot, so at one point you have to call it a day. If I have to do worlds, I’d have to go from straight to Australia after the Vuelta, that would be another few weeks away.”
Somewhat surprising considering his top condition, Pedersen’s decision was one he made with the team staffers as well as the Danish national team.
With the way he is riding, especially after going into the second half of the Vuelta with a stranglehold on the green points jersey, Pedersen would have been one of the favorites for a second rainbow jersey.
The hilly course in Australia might be a touch too much for his profile, but circuit racing in the worlds can lead to surprising outcomes.
“We made the decision not to go to the worlds, and we are happy with the season so far. I can see my wife again, which will be nice,” Pedersen said. “I am proud and happy of the season I’ve had so far, and if I take it too far or go over the limit, it also might affect the season next year.”
Pedersen’s win was his seventh of 2022, and now he turns his attention toward riding to Madrid on September 11 with the green jersey on his shoulders.
“It’s a possibility to keep the green jersey all the way to Madrid, so now that we have won a stage, that is now the main goal,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen on expectations: ‘A bit of pressure is good’
The big Dane made easy work of an early sprint by Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates), and had plenty of time to celebrate at the line into Montilla in the heart of Spain’s “sea of olives.”
Trek-Segafredo did the work to finish off a three-rider breakaway, and Pedersen delivered on his end of the bargain.
“This stage was the main goal for myself, so the pressure was on me and my team,” Pedersen said. “I didn’t feel the pressure outside the team or the media, but we put pressure on the whole group today, and it was up to me to deliver it in the end.
“A bit of pressure is also good when you are the favorite to win a stage like today,” Pedersen said.