Mads Pedersen sprints to second stage win in Circuit de la Sarthe . after exciting final

Mads Pedersen sprints to second stage win in Circuit de la Sarthe . after exciting final

Thursday 7 April 2022 at 15:58

Mads Pedersen has his second win at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The strong Dane of Trek-Segafredo defeated Kévin Vauquelin, who looked on his way to victory, and Mark Cavendish in the sprint after a thrilling final. Pedersen seems to have one more stage to go on his way to overall victory.

Again opportunities for the fast men in the Circuit de la Sarthe. After Olav Kooij won the second stage yesterday, another bunch sprint was expected today. With Mads Pedersen in the leader’s jersey, the peloton started from Sablé-sur-Sarthe, where they also finished later in the day. Along the way, the riders were only faced with three, otherwise not too difficult, slopes. In short, for the fast men in the peloton, there seemed to be no problem, on their way to an (expected) bunch sprint.

Six refugees are given space
Six drivers quickly chose the harepath and formed the flight of the day. Georg Steinhauser, the son of former professional cyclist Tobias Steinhauser, who competed for EF Education-EasyPost, was joined at the top of the race by Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies), Tony Hurel (St Michel-Auber93), Emiel Vermeulen (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole), Andrii Ponomar (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) and Laurent Pichon (Arkea-Samsic). The peloton apparently liked to see it happen and let the lead increase to a good five minutes. Trek-Segafredo and Jumbo-Visma, the teams of leader Pedersen and Olav Kooij, controlled the game.

The sprinter teams clearly had the situation under control. As the kilometers passed, the lead of the six refugees decreased visibly. With thirty kilometers to go, the difference was still one and a half minutes, which turned out not to be enough for the front runners. At least, that was the expectation, but Steinhauser clearly had other plans. The still only 20-year-old German decided to take off alone in the last ten kilometers and started the last five kilometers of this stage with a lead of half a minute. Was it enough to kick the sprinters?

Finish is just a bit too far for brave Vauquelin
The brave Steinhauser fought for what he was worth, but was caught by the peloton just before the finish. This was the signal for Kévin Vauquelin to play on the surprise. The promising French all-rounder of Arkéa-Samsic made a hole and seemed to be on his way to victory, but that had not been calculated by Mads Pedersen. The Dane managed to reassemble poor Vauquelin just in time in the last straight line, with an impressive power sprint. The latter came a few meters short of the victory, but Pedersen will not care about that.

The brave Vauquelin had to settle for second, Mark Cavendish crossed the line in third. Olav Kooij, Wednesday’s stage winner, had to settle for sixth this time. Pedersen is even more firmly in the lead in the general classification thanks to his second stage victory. The final stage of the French stage race is scheduled for Friday, with start and finish in Sablé-sur-Sarthe. The final stage is also good for the fast men in the peloton.