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Mads Pedersen: 'Stuyven and I are a pair of kings for the Classics'

Will Strickson
20 Jan 2021

Trek-Segafredo rider believes partnership with teammate Jasper Stuyven gives them the edge in the Classics. Photo: Jojo Harper

When asked in a pre-season press conference whether he thinks he should be Trek-Segafredo's sole leader for the Classics, Mads Pedersen smiled and said: 'I think it makes us and the team stronger to have two cards to play, this is a pair of kings. It's not a bad hand to have in a poker game.'

He is of course referring to Belgian teammate Jasper Stuyven, the other half of Trek's two-headed Classics dragon. 

In a reduced schedule in 2020, the pair shared the spoils of Gent-Wevelgem, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and 10 stage finishes in the top 10 at the Tour de France – including Pedersen's second on the Champs-Élysées, out-sprinting everyone bar Sam Bennett.

Despite the pair's success, the Dane insists the best is yet to come: 'It's about time to make it a standout for us to be there together in the final every time. We're pretty sure we're stronger together than apart but first we have to be there together and this is what we're aiming for this year – to be together in the final every time.'

It helps that the two of them are close friends who actually want the other one to win, Pedersen admitted that if Stuyven had taken the Gent-Wevelgem win in his place he'd have been more than happy.

'It's where I think we're a little bit different from some other guys, we enjoy when the other one is winning the race, we want the other to win a race.'

The real test this season for the duo will be the World Championships road race in Flanders, which finishes in Leuven, where Stuyven was born.

Pedersen confessed the thing he regrets most about the shortened 2020 season was that he didn't get a chance to get pictures in the rainbow jersey he won in Harrogate at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and would love to win it back (if only for the images of him wearing it).

'I know the course fits me quite well and I'm joking a lot with Jasper about it that it would be an enjoyable moment for me to put him in second place while I'm winning.'

However, he might have to play kind if he's to get his own similar opportunity in 2022 when the Tour de France begins in Copenhagen.

'I will do my absolute maximum next year to try to get the yellow jersey in Copenhagen,' he said. 'Second stage we are passing 200 metres from my house.'

Although he's a realist, Pedersen isn't short on confidence and it would be risky to bet against him.

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