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'Whenever it happens, Paris-Roubaix will be my big goal' says world champion Mads Pedersen

Road race world champion Mads Pedersen leads Trek-Segafredo teammate – and eventual overall winner – Richie Porte at the 2020 Tour Down Under
Road race world champion Mads Pedersen leads Trek-Segafredo teammate – and eventual overall winner – Richie Porte at the 2020 Tour Down Under (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Trek-Segafredo's Mads Pedersen says that he'll be ready to race once competition resumes, and that winning a rescheduled Paris-Roubaix would be his ultimate goal.

Speaking from his home in Denmark during a Q&A session on his Trek-Segafredo team's Facebook page on Tuesday, Pedersen – who became road race world champion in Yorkshire, in the UK, last September – said that it was a shame that neither the Tour of Flanders, where he finished second in 2018, nor Paris-Roubaix took place earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I love the Classics, and was looking forward to Roubaix, in particular, but some things are more important than racing or showing off my jersey right now," said Pedersen.

The 24-year-old has had just 16 days of racing in his new rainbow jersey so far this season – in addition to having ridden the Tour de l'Eurométropole, the Tre Valli Varesine and Milano-Torino in the jersey at the end of last season – but Pedersen said that the situation wasn't uppermost in his mind.

"In 10 years, no one will remember how many races I did in it – just that I won the jersey," he said. "That's what makes me happiest; I'm not at home crying, thinking about how many races I did in it."

The organisers of the 2020 UCI Road World Championships have already stated that the event is still set to take place as planned from September 20-27 in Aigle and Martigny in Switzerland, with the hilly men's road race taking place on the final day.

Would Pedersen be pleased if it didn't go ahead, meaning that he could spend longer as world champion?

"Honestly, no, as it would be so bad for cycling if we didn't race the Worlds," he replied. "So I hope that we do race them – and hopefully I have a chance of winning again. But I don't think I can, as the course is too hilly."

Arguably even more importantly than the Worlds taking place is the Tour de France happening in some form, at some point – and it's looking increasingly likely to take place in late August and into September.

"I saw that the French government has said no to the Tour taking place on the planned dates [June 27-July 19], but I think it will still happen – just later on," Pedersen said. "I think it's important for cycling and all the teams that it does still happen. It's a big three weeks for the teams and sponsors, so I hope that the UCI and [Tour organisers] ASO will make it happen, and that we can race the Tour, at least."

Having ridden the Tour Down Under, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and Paris-Nice so far this season, Pedersen said that he'd been feeling confident that he was ready for the now-cancelled spring Classics. But on the prospect of Paris-Roubaix potentially taking place in September or October, the Dane said that he'll be fully focused.

"When we know when Roubaix will be happening, it will be a big goal," he said. "It will be historic, whoever wins it, as it'll perhaps be the only time that it will happen at that time of the year, so it'll be special when we do it.

"I'll be ready whenever they're ready to put on races again. I'm pretty sure we're all ready to race again. I'll just have to do some big efforts in training, and then I'll be back in good shape.

"I think the season can be saved," Pedersen added. "It's a new situation for us as riders, but also for the fans. I'm pretty sure that the UCI and the teams will be able to put together a new race calendar. And I think it'll be a really nice end to the year, with a lot of important races happening, so I'm looking forward to it. It will be a lot of big races in a short period, though, so it's going to be interesting for everyone."