Mads Pedersen is on a Tour De France mission

As he prepares for his fifth appearance at the Tour de France, the supremely confident Mads Pedersen tells Chris Marshall-Bell how he’s backing himself against all-comers

Pedersen ahead of stage 2 of the 2024 Tour de France
Pedersen ahead of stage 2 of the 2024 Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

How do you kick off an interview with a rider who admits he has a “super high” ego? You paint a picture of him winning literally everything, absenting his main rivals – Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogačar – from the scene. With those generational talents out of the way, then surely he, Mads Pedersen, would take a clean sweep? “I can’t answer that,” he cuts in, gruffly, “because they are here, and I can’t change that fact.” Flattery has got me nowhere. “Look, they are here, so it’s just a factor we have to deal with when we’re racing,” he continues. “They are also super good for the sport – cycling is better with them, even if sometimes it would be OK for me if they weren’t there. Anyway, even if they weren’t around, there’d be someone else who’d show up.”

If there is one thing that doesn’t interest the Dane, it’s winning the easy way – even hypothetically. Throughout his career as a WorldTour pro from 2017, Pedersen has had to fight for his status as one of the world’s best riders. After winning the World Championships in Yorkshire in 2019, aged 22, his first notable result, he had to prove his rainbow stripes were merited. It took time, but over the next six years he cemented his reputation, winning six Grand Tour stages – three at the Vuelta a España, two at the Tour de France and one at the Giro d'Italia – twice triumphing at Ghent-Wevelgem, and podiuming at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Now 28 and still on the same team (now called Lidl-Trek), Pedersen is established as one of the sport’s best one-day figures, a rider who can win sprints, get over hills and go long, but often persistently standing in his way of his success are the aforementioned trio. Is he now, riding his fifth Tour de France, cycling’s most under-appreciated superstar?

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and long reads across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013. In 2024 he released a seven-part podcast documentary, Ghost in the Machine, about motor doping in cycling.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains. He lives in Valencia, Spain.