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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España stage 13: Mads Pedersen takes victory in chaotic sprint finish

The Dane extends his lead in the green jersey competition.

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After several close calls, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) stormed to his first stage win of this year’s Vuelta a España on the uphill finish into Montilla on stage 13.

It was a chaotic finale with several different teams taking over the pace-setting in the final few hundred meters. Pascal Ackerman (UAE Team Emirates) tried to get the jump on his rivals as he launched his sprint going around the final corner.

However, Ackerman faded as Pedersen charged past to win by a convincing margin. Meanwhile, Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) also passed Ackerman in the finale to take second with the German eventually finishing in third.

Race leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) kept a cool head during stage and finished safely within the pack.

“We knew that the final was super good. The boys did super good today and everybody was focused for the whole day. I’m just happy that I can finally get the win and give back to the boys for the work that they’ve already done so far. It’s really nice for all of us,” Pedersen said at the finish.

“Alex delivered me into the last corner, but there was still 800m to go, so it was good that [Jumbo-Visma] made a really hard tempo, and Pascal he jumped early. It meant that I could jump with him but it was a long sprint. To follow Ackerman is also a full sprint so it was a 330-meter sprint today.

“We came here for a stage win and now we have one so we keep fighting for one more. It’s super nice to have a comfortable lead in the points jersey, but it would still have been nice to have Sam [Bennett] here to keep fighting for the jersey. We will keep fighting for the stages and we will see how it goes.”

How it happened

The peloton got a brief respite on stage 13 with a flat 168.4km stage that looked likely to end in a sprint finish. It would not be a straightforward finale, however, with a long uphill drag to the line that would likely exclude some of the pure sprinters.

For the first time in several days, there were no non-starters, but there was some major news from the departure town after it was announced that Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) had tested positive for COVID-19 but would be allowed to continue the race.

With little prospect of the breakaway making it all the way to the finish line, the battle to get into the day’s move was far more straightforward than it was Thursday. After just three kilometers of racing Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), and Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) already had a minute on the peloton.

The three escapees were kept under close scrutiny by the bunch and the gap was not allowed to grow out to much more than three minutes. With 40 kilometers to go, it had been trimmed down to just under two with the sprint teams sharing much of the pace-setting work on the front of the main group.

A big push by the three breakaway riders injected a small sense of panic within the bunch, but a swift rise in the pace cut the gap down to a more manageable level. With 17km to go, the trio at the front had just 26 seconds on the charging peloton.

With the break almost within touching distance going through the intermediate sprint, Van den Berg decided that his day was done and dropped back, leaving Okamika and Bou to carry on for a few more kilometers, but their days were soon done.

The high pace in the peloton made it next to impossible for any late breakaway attempts to get up the road and the bunch rode into the finish together. Wide roads allowed for free and easy movement around the group and the washing machine effect of the peloton saw multiple teams pull on the front.

A big injection of pace by Jumbo-Visma really strung the peloton out but Bora-Hansgrohe then took over to settle things down. As the bunch approached the final major bend, Ackerman took to the front and set off in search of the line. He pulled out a sizable gap but then started to slow as Pedersen moved up alongside him.

Pedersen kicked again and had a clear advantage as he threw his arms in the air in celebration.

Final kilometer


Results will be available once stage has completed.

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