Pedersen loses Circuit Sarthe overall in late crash

LA CHAPELLESAINTAUBIN FRANCE APRIL 08 Mads Pedersen of Denmark and Team Trek Segafredo Yellow Leader Jersey crosses the finish line during the 68th Circuit Cycliste Sarthe Pays de la Loire 2022 Stage 4 a 1364km stage shortened due to bad weather conditions from La ChapelleSaintAubin to La ChapelleSaintAubin CircuitSarthe on April 08 2022 in La ChapelleSaintAubin France Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images
Mads Pedersen dropped from GC lead to 24th overall after crash (Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Mads Pedersen went away from the final stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe with ‘some scrapes’ rather than the winner’s trophy on Friday, calling his reversal of fortune “shit to lose the race this way” from a late crash.

All the GC contenders were in a large group that had just caught a nine-rider breakaway on the fourth and final 9.6km finishing lap of the race, Pedersen set to seal his overall victory. However with 4km to go, 20 or so riders went down on the rain-soaked tarmac, including Pedersen, leaving a handful of riders safely out front to contest for the stage win. This included Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) and Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix), who went one-two at the line and gave Kooij the GC victory as well.

"All is good. I'm not hurt so that's fine. It's shit to lose the race this way but at least the crash wasn't too bad for me. It will be fine with a few days of recovery, we will be good," Pedersen said on the Trek-Segafredo Twitter feed.

His team provided an update a little more than an hour after the chaotic stage finish, saying, “Mads got off lightly with just some scrapes. Alex Kirsch also crashed and needed some stitches to the chin and eyebrow at the finish but is otherwise OK.” 

Trek-Segafredo also said that both riders would be ready for Paris-Roubaix, which takes place on April 17. Pedersen has been working towards the Monument this season, finishing sixth at Milan-San Remo, seventh at Gent-Wevelgem, and eighth at Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Pedersen managed to remount his bike after the crash and cross the line five minutes back, dropping him from first overall to 24th. Other big losers from the crash included Kévin Vauquelin (Arké-Samsic), who dropped from second overall to 19th, Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers), from fifth to 25th, Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), from sixth to 26th, and Sean Quinn (EF Education-EasyPost), from eighth to 21st.

The big winner was Kooij, who scored his second stage win of the race and moved from ninth overall to the GC victory. 

“It was a nervous day, partly due to the weather conditions," the 20-year-old Kooij said later in a team statement. "After I had had a minor crash early in the stage, it was good for us that Rick and Lars were part of the breakaways. When the breakaway riders were caught, we looked like we were on our way to a bunch sprint. That turned out differently due to a huge crash. 

"Not the prettiest way to win, but sometimes you need a little luck.”

The wet roads made the local lap around finish place La Chapelle-Saint-Aubin extremely tricky. Heavy wind and rain belted France as Storm Diego blasted across Europe from the Atlantic Ocean on Friday morning. Organisers cut the total distance of stage 4 by approximately 20 kilometres to the reduced length of 136 kilometres, and the weather was indeed a factor for the final outcome.

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Jackie Tyson
North American Production editor

Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp for several minor league teams. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road and gravel rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).