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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España: Mads Pedersen’s plans don’t pay off as breakaway takes the win

Trek-Segafredo put in a lot of work over the day's only climb on stage 7, but it wasn't enough to bring back the break.

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Mads Pedersen was not shy about detailing Trek-Segafredo’s plan of attack ahead of stage 7 of the Vuelta a España and the team did just as he said it would, but the riders were left licking their wounds after the work didn’t pay off.

Pedersen had hoped to be able to get rid of his points classification rival Sam Bennett, and a few other sprinters, over the first-category Puerto de San Glorio before reeling in the break before romping home to a stage win.

Despite pushing the pace all the way up the only climb of the day the team was unable to get rid of the top sprinters, most of whom re-joined the peloton on the descent, and was left facing the reality that they didn’t have the manpower to bring the breakaway back.

“With about 10ks to go and they still had one minute and 15 seconds on the slight downhill it is almost impossible,” Pedersen said when asked about the point he realized the plan had not worked.

“It’s a pity, when you have such a good plan. The boys did really everything today but sometimes it goes our way and sometimes it doesn’t and today was not our day. Hopefully, we’ll have more chances.”

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With the intermediate sprint coming after the climb, stage 7 was a big opportunity for Pedersen to put a gap between himself and Bennett in the points classification. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider went into the day with a slim nine-point lead in the green jersey competition over Pedersen.

Pedersen put his team to work on the front of the peloton as the bunch hit the climb midway through the stage. The effort strung the bunch out, but the gradient was steady enough that it didn’t blow the race apart.

Bennett was able to hold on until the final kilometer of the climb, losing just over 30 seconds to the bunch by the summit. Trek-Segafredo did its best to keep the pressure on down the descent, but it wasn’t getting any help from the other teams and the dropped sprinters were able to get back. Other teams did eventually pitch in but it was too late.

“You saw in the end, my guys tried everything they could, but it was not enough today. It was a pretty strong breakaway and congrats to them and played it well,” he said.

“We’re not calculating on support from other teams, we’re calculating on support from ourselves. Of course, we would hope that the chase would start earlier but it didn’t, and we can’t change that. That’s racing and congrats to the breakaway.”

In the end, Bennett was there with Pedersen as the group rolled to the finish line. They sprinted for the minor placings as if a victory was on offer with the Irishman winning the group battle to earn himself 15 points. Pedersen was beaten by Jake Stewart and Kaden Groves and took nine points in the end.

With two big mountain stages to come over the weekend, Bennett now has a 15-point lead over Pedersen in the green jersey competition.