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'I missed out delivering the result the team deserved' – Pedersen gutted with fourth at Milan-San Remo

Mads Pedersen was hugely disappointed after seeing a chance of a Milan-San Remo victory ahead of him on the via Roma for a split second, only for Jasper Philipsen to snatch it from him in the final metres of the high-speed 12-rider sprint.

Lidl-Trek had executed their planned race strategy, with Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven in the select group over the top of the Poggio. The thousand different scenarios that Stuyven had talked about pre-race then came down to a sprint after Mathieu van der Poel closed down the late attacks.

Pedersen was there and Stuyven led him down the Via Roma, catching a final attack from Tom Pidcock, but as the Dane surged down the left of the road, Michael Matthews and Tadej Pogačar went on the other side and edged ahead. Pedersen dove across the road towards them but finished fourth, cruelly off the podium.

“I’m happy with the way we rode as a team, but I’m sorry that I didn’t do a better sprint and at least finish on the podium. So I’m sorry, and I’m disappointed,” Pedersen said, long after the finish, after preferring to let his disappointment fade on the Lidl-Trek team bus.

“It’s a monument and I missed out on delivering the result the team deserved today,” he added.

“On a day like today, with the way we rode and with the help of Jasper in the final, I should have at least been on the podium, and that’s why it’s even more disappointing for myself that I didn’t do that.”

Stuyven tried to be more upbeat about Lidl-Trek’s performance.

Mathieu van der Poel had named Lidl-Trek as the strongest team of the race, better than UAE Team Emirates, who lacked riders for an attack on the Cipressa and to protect Pogačar.

Jacopo Mosca did a lot of the hard miles in the opening two hundred kilometres, ensuring the 10-rider break never gained more than two minutes. Jonathan Milan was distanced on the Cipressa but fought to get back on and did what he could, as did Toms Skujiņš, who finished in the chase group, and the other domestiques who worked for Pedersen and Stuyven.

“I think we did what we had to do, then in a sprint, the legs speak,” Stuyven said honestly.

“We did everything we had to do. The team was perfect, as planned. We’re just missing the cherry on the cake.”

Pedersen was quietly confident about his chances before Milan-San Remo. Last year he ‘blew his engine’ when trying to follow the Pogacar attacks on the Poggio. He suffered again this year but had something left as he crested the Poggio and fought back into contention on the descent and the flat road in San Remo.

“It was an expected end to the race,” Stuyven suggested.

“Everyone waited for Tadej to launch, so the different possible scenarios started when he failed to get away and we started the last 500 metres of the Poggio and the descent.

“At the bottom, we saw that anything could have happened. From there it was about trying to manage things.”

Stuyven found one final consolation.

“You always want to find a positive and it was that both Mads and I are there for the coming weeks,” he said, looking to the rapidly approaching cobbled Classics with optimism.

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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