'I came for more than this': Mads Pedersen's Tour de France marred by injuries but sees green jersey on the horizon

The 2019 world champion wasn't able to build on his impressive form in last year's Tour

Mads Pedersen
(Image credit: Getty)

Here's a couple of results from the 2020 Tour de France you most probably forgot all about.

Stage one: Nice to Nice. Won by Alexander Kristoff, the Norwegian beating Mads Pedersen by a bike length.

Stage 21: Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris. Won by the green jersey of Sam Bennett, just pipping Mads Pedersen to the line on the Champs-Élysées.

With barely a break in racing since the cycling calendar resumed in August 2020, it's very easy to focus on the here and now, and the present day makes it difficult to believe that Pedersen almost won two sprint stages at last year's Tour.

It's more incomprehensible because ever since he surprisingly became the world champion in Yorkshire in 2019, the Trek-Segafredo rider has been trying to rewrite the narrative and prove his worth, prove his rainbow stripes, and prove that win in Harrogate wasn't a fluke.

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It seemed to go unnoticed, but in 2020's condensed season he won a sprint at the BinckBank Tour, triumphed at Gent-Wevelgem, and then this spring won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne before scoring a hat-trick of top-threes in ensuing sprints.

He should have been a contender for the points classification in the 2021 race, but it didn't go to plan.

"I came for more than this," he tells Cycling Weekly, ruefully cursing his luck but pragmatic all the same. "Yet some times it doesn't go as you want.

"Last year was really, really good and I didn't hit the ground once, but this year I've crashed three times, was also sick, and around halfway through my main focus became on just trying to finish the race."

He jokes that a tilt at green "is a bit too late this year, hey," but is warm to the idea, even if his name is barely mentioned in the list of possible winners.

"I wouldn't deny that maybe one year, if the course fits me good, that I think I can I would be quite OK in going for green," he confirms.

"If I can find the climbing legs that I had last year, and use those legs and the sprints, it would be a bit easier to get some easy points on the route, and not just focusing on the final sprints all of the time."

A bit like how Michael Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli approached the classification this year. "Similar to that," Pedersen agrees. "Making gains, getting more points on the climbing days. That's the way I think."

The 25-year-old, however, doesn't only read that textbook. Bennett and Mark Cavendish win green in the conventional style: winning the flat stages.

Pedersen continues. "I still believe I can be an even better sprinter than I am now.

"Ok, this year I didn't show any really good sprints in the Tour, but I still believe with a good focus on sprinting that I can be in the top mix in the future in sprinting."

Next year's Tour starts in Copenhagen, 60km east of Pedersen's hometown, Tølløse. "It's super-nice to have the biggest race in the world in Denmark next year," he says. 

Two sprint stages follow the opening day time trial. No prizes for guessing what Pedersen's plans are.