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Pedersen takes aim at intense classics block with hopes for a wet Roubaix

Trek-Segafredo's Stuyven and Deignan also putting 'fall classics' and grand tours at center of revised 2020 calendars.

World champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) is relishing the prospect of an October stacked with classics races as he takes aim at the cobblestones of Roubaix.

The Dane has confirmed he will be showing the rainbow jersey at his debut Tour de France this summer before diving into a block of one-day races that will peak late October for Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Like many one-day specialists, the prospect of racing the ‘spring’ classics in October is no issue for Pedersen, who said “racing is racing and we will be ready whenever the classics are on… I’m just looking forward to starting racing again.”

The bulk of the Flandrien races are packed into a two-week spell in October starting with Gent-Wevelgem, October 11, and finishing up in the Roubaix velodrome October 25.

“It will be a cool experience to do all the big races in such a short period,” Pedersen said in a team release. “It’s something new for everyone and it’s going to be nice.”

Having won the junior Paris-Roubaix, the 24-year-old has long spoken of his ambitions of winning the senior version, and the iconic monument will mark the final major milestone in his 2020 calendar.

Pedersen has proven he has the legs to go the distance in the foulest of conditions having outlasted the opposition at the Harrogate worlds in 2019. The rain worked for him in Yorkshire, and he seems to hope that will translate over to success at Roubaix, saying “I’m hoping for a wet Roubaix this year.”

Pedersen’s teammate Jasper Stuyven will be following the same path through 2020, riding in support of Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema at the Tour before heading to the classics.

“The classics are still my main target and it will be a short period with a lot of races, so it will be important to find a balance between races, rest, and a little bit of training,” Stuyven said. “No one knows what racing the classics in October will bring, but from what I remember, for the last few years, the weather in October has been quite okay in Belgium. The chances are a bit higher for bad weather, but I don’t mind some rain and a bit of cold.”

Lizzie Deignan’s racing calendar will have the Giro Rosa and the classics as key focal points. The former world champion is particularly eager to race a stacked classics program this fall, namely the Tour de Flanders, a race she won in 2016 and a goal once the 2020 racing calendar resumes.

“I’m particularly excited to race the ‘spring classics.’ I don’t think it matters what time of the year they’re raced. They are iconic races and daydreaming about a victory there for the team is what motivates me now during lockdown training,” she said. “Flanders has a special place in my heart and it will be another chance to experience the climbs and cobbles before the world championships in 2021.”