Pedersen Wins in Montilla
Stage 13 of La Vuelta a Espana 2022 sent the peloton on a 168.4-kilometer mission from Ronda to Montilla – a route located in beautiful hilly Andalusian territory characterized by small curvy roads lined with pine trees and Spanish firs, taking the riders through olive groves and small, white-painted villages architecturally influenced by Moors and Christians.
Today’s challenge, however, was not between Moors and Christians, but rather between professional cyclists. It was a stage that points classification leader Mads Pedersen of Team Trek-Segafredo had marked in his calendar, hoping to take advantage of his hill climbing skills to take a Vuelta stage victory and increase his points classification advantage over fellow sprint aces who prefer less hilly territory. His lust for success had not lessened after having finished second no less than three times in the Vuelta so far.
With today’s stage being the main target of Pedersen’s Vuelta, his Trek-Segafredo team set out to control the stage from the beginning and kept the advantage of a small three-man breakaway group to a minimum in a combined effort with the BikeExchange and Cofidis teams. Today’s trio of breakaway hopefuls featured Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Ander Okamika of Team Burgos-BH and managed to get a three-minute lead on the main peloton before being slowly reeled in.
As the peloton reached the final kilometers of the stage, Pedersen made the most of his sprinting abilities by powering solo across the finish line in Montilla, followed by Bryan Coquard of Cofidis and UAE Team Emirates’ Pascal Ackermann.
“The boys did really well in today’s stage, and everyone was focused the whole day,” a happy and grateful Pedersen told Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium. “I’m so happy to finally get the win and give back to the boys who have worked so hard for me so far in this year’s Vuelta. So, it is very nice for our whole team.”
Pedersen told Roadcycling.com he will not take part in the 2022 Road Cycling World Championships for Denmark despite the hilly route suiting him well. “I miss my wife very much and it has been a long season. I fear prolonging my 2022 season will have a negative impact on my 2023 season.”
Despite crashing in yesterday’s Penas Blancas stage, Vuelta general classification leader Remco Evenepoel (Team QuickStep) managed to complete today’s stage without any time loss to his competitors. Tomorrow’s grueling mountain stage to Sierra de La Pandera will reveal if he is in any way inhibited by his injuries.
Evenepoel now has a 02:41 minute advantage on Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic and is 03:03 minutes ahead of Enric Mas (Team Movistar).