Mads Pedersen took the third stage victory for Danish riders in a Tour de France that started from Copenhagen and has Jonas Vingegaard in the yellow jersey after the Alps. The 2019 world champion won stage 13 from an escape. Fred Wright and Hugo Houle, his last two breakaway companions, rounded out the stage podium.
GANNA AND KÜNG, TOP TIME TRIALISTS AT THE FRONT
158 riders took the start of stage 13 at Le Bourg d’Oisans at 13.18. One non-starter: Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic). Kamil Gradek (Bahrain Victorious), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Matîs Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic) and Jérémy Lecroq (B&B Hotels-KTM) formed a breakaway group at km 15. But it was bunched up at km 22. Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadier), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) rode away in the first ascent to cross the top of côte de Brié (km 30) in that order. A group of 19 riders with the likes of last year’s stage winners Bauke Mollema and Nils Politt tried to come across but was swallowed by the peloton riding over 50km/h in the streets of Grenoble. Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Mads Pedersen and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) joined the leading trio at km 51.
CALEB EWAN’S CRASH CHANGES THE RACE SCENARIO
Alpecin-Deceuninck was the first sprinter’s team to react at the head of the peloton but the deficit was 2’ at km 65. Lotto-Soudal took over with Philippe Gilbert setting the pace for a long time. Pedersen passed the col de Parménie (km 79), the main climb of the day, in first position while the bunch trailed by 2’35’’. Caleb Ewan crashed in a curve at km 118. He resumed racing with deficit of 2’ from the main peloton. He surrendered 25km further as he struggled to get back on. Several other riders were struggling in hot conditions on a lumpy terrain. The deficit of the peloton went up to 3’25’’ at the top of côte de Saint-Romain-en-Gal (km 148) as most of the sprinters’ teams got discouraged. That’s where Team BikeExchange-Jayco finally moved up to the helm of the bunch.
THREE RIDERS FOR THE VICTORY
After working a lot to make the breakaway work in favour of Pedersen, Simmons let his companions go. Küng, Ganna, Houle, Wright, Jorgenson and Pedersen approached the 20km to go mark with an advantage of 2’15’’. Pedersen attacked in a hill 12.5km before the end. Houle and Wright came across to him. The Danish rider was obviously the strongest of the three. He tried to finish solo but his two adversaries forced him to sprint for the victory. He made it by launching his sprint 300 metres before the finishing line drawn nearby the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium. This is his maiden stage win in a Grand Tour, his 24th as a pro at the age of 26.