Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) powered to victory from the breakaway in stage 13 of the 2022 Tour de France.
The Danish rider took advantage of the indecision in the six man breakaway, to launch an attack under 15 kilometres from the finish in Saint-Étienne. The vicious move distanced Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) who had been part of a seven man breakaway for most of the 193 kilometre transitional stage out of the Alps.
In the closing stages of a blisteringly hot stage, Pedersen proved to be too strong for Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) in the final sprint for the line to take a first victory for Trek-Segafredo at the 2022 edition of the Tour de France.
The Danish rider is renowned for his powerful turn of speed, and as the three leaders flew under the final kilometre banner, the former World Champion launched a ferocious final sprint to open up a gap between himself and both Houle and Wright to take a fully deserved stage victory. Wright finished second with Houle in third.
The rest of the peloton was led by home by Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) with race leader Jonas Vingegaard safely within the bunch.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After two days of drama in the High-Alps, the riders will have been hoping for an easier ride on the road to Saint-Étienne. On Wednesday Jonas Vingegaard dramatically took the yellow jersey from Tadej Pogačar, and Tom Pidcock then took a stunning maiden Tour win atop Alpe d’Huez the day after. Before stage 13 got underway, Jonas Vingegaard was still firmly in the driving seat in the overall standings.
As the day's early breakaway began to form, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) powered away from the front of the peloton gradually getting a gap. There was disarray behind the trio as other riders attempted to form a chasing group. Eventually Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Hugo Houle (Israel-PremierTech) got together to organise a chase. Moments later the chasers would join up with Ganna, Küng and Jorgenson to form a solid group of seven at 1-44 ahead of the main field.
With 115 kilometres left to race, the group's lead was building. Ganna along with Simmons were taking some long turns on the front to set the pace and increase their advantage. The finish into Saint-Étienne was widely expected to be contested in a sprint finish. Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) appeared to be struggling and was hanging at the back of the peloton.
As the race leaders approached the only intermediate sprint of the day, Pedersen would take the lion's share of the points. Competition leader Van Aert would come through a minute later, although the jersey was secure on his shoulders.
There was brief panic in the peloton as in an open and exposed stretch of road, brief splits formed in the bunch. The splits came back together but amplified stress in the peloton as riders battled for position. Coming into a tight bend afterwards, Caleb Ewan crashed to the floor in a nasty looking incident after touching wheels with a teammate. Ewan looked visibly in distress as he clutched his right knee. After a short period, Ewan composed himself and was back on the bike and chasing the peloton.
With 65 kilometres to go, knowing Ewan was off the back, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and Alpecin-Deceuninck suddenly took to the front of the peloton. Initially it appeared that they would look to drive the pace, however at the back of the race Ewan was being assisted by the Alpecin-Deceuninck team car as he fought to rejoin the main group. The breakaway’s advantage continued to stick.
The race was reaching the final of three small categorised climbs on the route. The category three Côte de Saint-Romain-en-Gal provided a short-sharp test for the riders before the final run towards the finish. Simmons would lead the breakaway as they entered the climb as Jumbo-Visma moved onto the front of the peloton jostling for position.
As the pace lifted in the main field, Ewan would be jettisoned from the back of the group along with several other riders including Jakobsen. 47 kilometres to go and Simmons began to fade in the breakaway. The American rider had worked hard to protect his teammate, Pedersen, but had begun to fade as they reached the top of the climb. An accord between Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma on the climb saw the peloton drop their speed enabling the breakaway to build on their advantage. However, with a finish that suited Michael Matthews, BikeExchange-Jayco weren’t satisfied with the drop in pace and dislodged the teams of the overall favourites from the front of the action.
Jack Baeur (Bike-Exchange Jayco) managed to claw back a minute on the breakaway, cutting their lead from over three minutes to 2-37. Multiple splits were starting to form in the peloton, as a group containing Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-EasyPost) and Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) were caught out by the quick tempo being set. The Australian team miraculously avoided a mass pile-up as Amund Grøndahl Jansen managed to save himself after appearing to lose balance on the front of the peloton in the melting tarmac.
25 kilometres from the finish, and the breakaway began to look at one another as they began to realise a stage victory would be up for grabs. Pedersen was marking every acceleration from Ganna superbly as they appeared to be the two strongest riders.
Once the race went under the 20 kilometre to go banner, the riders were faced with a long, uncategorised drag into the finish within Saint-Étienne. Pedersen continued to power the breakaways efforts as Enric Mas (Movistar) suffered a mechanical at the back of the peloton. With 12 kilometres left to race, Pedersen had clearly grown frustrated with the indecision in the peloton. The Danish rider launched a stinging attack out of nowhere which shattered the breakaway to pieces. Pedersen clearly feared Ganna who was distanced from the group along with Küng and Jorgenson.
Pedersen, Houle and Wright were left to battle it out between them for the stage win. Both Houle and Wright would both attempt to launch moves to catch out the Danish rider, although there would be no stopping Pedersen. With 500 metres to go to the line, Pedersen launched a powerful and vicious final attack to force a gap between him and Wright. There would be no stopping the Trek-Segafredo rider who crossed the line with his arms outstretched to take a comfortable Tour de France stage victory. Great Britain’s Wright came in second with Houle in third.
There would be no changes in the general classification, as Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) would lead the peloton home with his teammate Jonas Vingegaard safely amongst the main field.
TOUR DE FRANCE STAGE 13 RESULTS
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, in 04-13-03
2. Fred Wright (GBR) Bahrain Victorious,
3. Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech,
4. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ, at 30s
5. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar, at same time
6. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 32s
7. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at 05-45
8. Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl,
9. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B & B Hotels-KTM,
10. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert, all at same time
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 13
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, in 46-28-46
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-22
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2-26
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 2-35
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 3-44
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic, at 3-58
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 4-07
8. Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 7-39
9. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar, at 9-32
10. Aleksandr Vlasov Bora-Hansgrohe, at 10-06
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