Mads Pedersen brightened the race up with a flash of rainbow colours in a close sprint with Pascal Ackermann and Davide Ballerini. The Danish rider took his first win as a World Champion in Zabrze and became the leader of the General Classification, while Pascal Ackermann chased him to the line, finishing only four seconds behind.
Today’s stage was enlivened by today’s fugitives, Maciej Paterski and Julius Van Den Berg, who were caught at only 16 km from the finish by the peloton preparing for the final sprint. The sprinters’ trains saw Trek-Segafredo, BORA-hansgrohe and Bahrain-McLaren as the main contenders up to the last 500 meters, where Mads Pedersen, Pascal Ackermann and a brave Davide Ballerini were the key players in a sprint fought to the very last centimeter. Pedersen was first across the finish line, and the World Champion can now frame a picture of his first victory in the rainbow jersey.
Julius Van Den Berg secured his leadership in the mountain classification, while Jasper Philipsen now leads the sprinter classification. The prize for the most active rider goes to Maciej Paterski.
Winner’s quote: “It’s super nice to win and I want to dedicate this victory to Fabio after the horrible crash of yesterday; he deserves a speedy recovery and a quick return to life and cycling, so this victory is definitely for him. On a personal side it’s super nice to come back to racing, starting with a victory, showing off the jersey. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to show the stripes so I think it was nice to do it today. It’s really horrible what happened yesterday, no one deserved it; of course it touched the whole peloton but we have to keep racing and doing our best. I hope for the best for Fabio and now I’ll return to the guys to enjoy the victory and we’ll see what happens in the next days. It’s getting harder and harder, there will be more climbs and that’s definitely not a thing for me. I’ll just enjoy the victory and the yellow jersey tomorrow.”
Jasper Philipsen, sprint jersey holder: “I think everybody was a little shocked about what happened yesterday, and today the stage was quite easy in the beginning, so I think a lot of people had time to think about what happened yesterday and almost couldn’t take in that something terrible like this happened. In the final it was just business as usual again; the sprinter tried to line up, my team did a really good job today but I am a bit disappointed with myself. I couldn’t really get to sprinting speed today and that’s why I’m disappointed, but let’s hope we can show what we can do this week in the next races here. Sometimes it’s all about when you see the barriers you just try to quickly think about something else and focus on the day – not always easy, but we just need to go on and try to keep safe and ride for the best result possible. The sprint jersey shows consistency, even if of course today I was aiming for more, but also a long training period: I worked well on my sprint, but am a little bit disappointed that I couldn’t show that. Let’s hope I can prove my potential and do something good during the week.”
Today the thoughts of the whole group were with Fabio Jakobsen, who underwent intricate surgery during the night. There were many displays of affection for the Belgian rider: on the podium Julius Van Den Berg showed a message for his friend and Davide Ballerini said he sprinted for his teammate. The Italian, who finished third in Zabrze, explained:
“It was a tough day for all of us as Fabio was in our minds the entire day. I really wanted to get a good result for him, but it’s not easy with these strong competitors. I’m sure Fabio would have won it.”