Former world champion Mads Pedersen celebrates first Tour de France stage success

Danish rider pips Fred Wright and Hugo Houle in sprint finish at Saint-Etienne

Stage winner Denmark's Mads Pedersen touches his shirt as he celebrates crossing the finish line of the stage 13 of the Tour de France. AP
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Mads Pedersen took stage 13 of the Tour de France even as the overall lead remained unchanged after the 193-kilometre flat route from Bourg-d'Oisans to Saint-Etienne on Friday.

The former world champion and Trek-Segafredo rider crossed the finish line in front of Briton Fred Wright and Canadian Hugo Houle, all three clocking 4 hours 13 minutes and 3 seconds.

The defending champion Tadej Pogacar of the UAE Team Emirates was 5 minutes and 45 seconds down in 12th in the peloton along with Jonas Vingegaard - same time in 19th - who retains the yellow jersey for the third day.

Pedersen, 26, sprinted away boldly with 250 metres to go and sailed away from Wright and Houle to grab his first Tour de France stage victory of his career.

“It's incredible to finally take a win [at the Tour],” said Pedersen, who became the first Danish rider to win the men's World Championship road race title in Yorkshire, England, in 2019.

“I knew the shape was really good. I definitely missed out on some opportunities in the first week.

UAE Team Emirates team's Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar celebrates on the podium with the Best Young Rider's white jersey. AFP.

“In the last two weeks, there are not a lot of chances for guys like me, so to take the chance today and get the reward is really nice, not just for me but the whole team.

“We came here with riders only for stage wins and now we have one, so it's a big relief.”

Pedersen made several attacks on the day before staying on strongly to come home best of the trio in the final sprint.

"For a long time, I thought it was a mistake to be in the break, because we only had two minutes, but in the end, it paid off,” he said.

“Today it was super hard for everyone. Everyone was really on the limit. I really didn't want to be at the finish with six guys, because that's too many guys too control.

“I tried to attack and luckily it split the break, there were only three and that's a lot easier to control. From 10km to 5km, it was about making the gap as big as possible so that we had time to slow down and chance a bit in the last few kilometres. Luckily, it paid off for me.”

There were no changes to the overall lead as Vingegaard of Jumbo-Visma leads the GC by 2:22 ahead of Pogacar and 2:26 ahead of third-placed Briton Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers.

The race heads into 195km stage 14 from Saint-Etienne to Mende on Saturday.

Stage 13 Results Top 5:

1. Mads Pedersen (DEN) Trek-Segafredo - 4hrs 13mins 03secs

2. Fred Wright (GBR) Bahrain Victorious - same time

3. Hugo Houle (CAN) Israel-Premier Tech

4. Stefan Kung (SUI) Groupama - FDJ +30secs

5. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team - same time

General Classification after Stage 13:

1. Jonas Vingegaard (DEN) Jumbo-Visma - 50hrs 47mins 34secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates - +2mins 22secs

3. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers - +2mins 26secs

4. Romain Bardet (FRA) Team DSM - +2mins 35secs

5. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers - +3mins 44secs

Updated: July 15, 2022, 6:19 PM