I really had to go


The winning attack on the final steep climb, Cote de la Tour.

Mads Pedersen snatches the first win of the season for Trek-Segafredo in the first stage of the French stage race Etoile de Besseges.

"It was a special day, we had to be ready for crosswinds but there wasn't much in the end. In the final Toms took really good care of me to put me in a good position with 800 meters to go. From there it was down to me.

The final was a super hard one with a steep climb in the end, but I also knew that I can do quite well on a finish like this. With Toms in the group it was quite good, I didn't have to do so much and we were saving as much energy as possible which worked well for me. Direct Energie opened from the bottom of the climb and it was 'follow, follow, follow'. With 500 meters to go I really had to go. To be honest, I thought it might have been a bit too early, but I had a good gap and it was enough to pass the finish line first. 

It's always nice to win. It was really close on Sunday (second at the GP La Marseillaise). It's just nice to start the season like this, and especially to give Pepinho a victory, he would have loved to have been here with us. Today was definitely a win for him, from the whole team. I'm getting a bit emotional about it. It's nice, it's a good start, but some things are more important in life. We showd him that we are fighting for him and hopefully he is still looking down on us.

It's a victory for Pepinho, from the whole team. They were great today."
-Mads Pedersen dedicates his win to his beloved mechanic Pepinho, who sadly passed away last week.