Danish rider Casper Pedersen of Team Sunweb won Sunday’s Paris-Tours after winning a two-up sprint with Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale).
It’s just the third pro career win for Pedersen, 24, who has previously won the Under-23 European road race in 2017 and then the opening stage of the 2017 Tour of Denmark.
“It’s a really big result for me — I’m super happy,” Pedersen said. “I was dreaming about doing a good result here because I felt like I came with really good shape out of the Tour, and I was motivated to get something good out of the Tour.”
One of the oldest races in pro cycling, the 213-kilometer Paris-Tours has undergone a facelift in recent years to include long stretches of gravel roads. Soon after the 2020 edition left Chartes, a six-man breakaway rolled away, forcing Sunweb and Ag2R-La Mondiale to chase. The group carved out a maximum advantage of 4:10, but the advantage began to shrink in the second half of the race.
A flurry of surges split the group into the 50 kilometers, and a crash saw Søren Kragh Andersen, the 2018 champion, abandon the race. Romain Bardet attacked over the first climb to open the final 50 kilometers of racing, and his teammate Cosnefroy put in several surges to draw out Pedersen, Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ).
With 28km remaining the group hit the final dirt section and it was Pedersen and Cosnefroy who broke away, setting up the final sprint in downtown Tours.
“I’ve been sprinting against [Cosnefroy] a few times in the Under-23. I know he likes the hills better than me, and I like the flat more than him,” Pedersen said. “I was playing a bit of poker looking at him like I didn’t suffer.”
- Casper Pedersen, Team Sunweb, 4:51:44
- Benoit Cosnefroy, AG2R-La Mondiale, at s.t.
- Joris Nieuwenhuis, Team Sunweb, at 0:30
- Valentin Madouas, Groupama-FDJ
- Warren Barguil, Arkéa-Samsic
- Petr Vakoč, Alpecin-Fenix
- Romain Bardet, Ag2R-La Mondiale, all at s.t.
- August Jensen, Riwal Securitas, at 2:11
- Maurits Lammertink, Circus-Wanty Gobert
- Rudy Molard, Groupama-FDJ all at s.t.