In case you weren’t paying attention – Mads Pedersen is on a tear.
Trek-Segafredo’s tough-guy sprinter is a lean, mean, winning machine so far in 2022, bossing the bunch-kick opener of Etoile de Bessegès and finishing second in three more races of his six-day season.
How come so hot?
According to sport director Steven de Jongh, Pedersen doubled down this winter in his mission to right the wrongs of a classics season that didn’t go his way in 2021. Oh, and being up for contract renewal surely maximized the motivation.
“He just had a really good winter, he’s really focused this year,” de Jongh told VeloNews. “He’s out of contract and completely not happy with what happened with last year’s classics. ”
Pedersen has long made it his mission to conquer the classics, with Paris-Roubaix the ultimate prize.
But last year, he barely saw a finish line in the season’s biggest races.
DNFs at Roubaix, the world championships, Tour of Flanders, and the E3 Classic left Pedersen cursing after he’d fired so fast out the gate with Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne victory.
“With last year’s classic season, and in general how the season went, Mads had a lot of crashes. He was very dissatisfied how it went. He knew he had a lot of stupid crashes that shouldn’t have happened. So something needed to change,” de Jongh said.
“You can see in training already, there’s a lot more focus a lot less playing around and joking, much more focused. With all of that, I think he really stepped up to a really good level.”
With Bessegès in the books, Pedersen keeps pedaling toward his delayed classics campaign with a late-winter Mallorca camp.
The Dane is ditching the “opening weekend” in favor of a later peak for the delayed Paris-Roubaix, where he’ll team up with sidekick Jasper Stuyven at the head of a bigger, bolder Trek classics crew.
From there, it’s all roads toward the Tour de France’s Danish Départ. Three days of sprinter-friendly parcours offers Pedersen the opportunity to pull on a yellow jersey in front of his home fans.
“He’s much more focused and concentrated now,” de Jongh said. “He’s really dedicated to doing a good pre-season, and that showed in Bessegès. We all know he wants to win Roubaix and of course, he’s really motivated to do well in the Tour as well because it starts in Denmark, with maybe even a yellow.”
If that’s not enough to make you train and race harder than ever before, what is?