Race report

Casper Pedersen takes brilliant 3rd place at the Tour de France after hard-fought breakaway

Tour de France

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

A rolling 207 kilometre long parcours awaited the peloton this afternoon as they left the start town of Mourenx. A fierce start was expected to the stage, as numerous teams looked to make it into the breakaway and upset the sprinters. As in previous stages, the team were prominent and to the fore, covering any large moves, before a six rider group managed to slip away. With the peloton content at that moment, those ahead were able to build up an advantage of around four minutes before the bunch started to chase.

It seemed as if the race was settled and it would be a normal sprint stage but a flurry of attacks with 140 kilometres still to go shook the race up. Attentive at the front, Casper Pedersen made it into a large 20 rider chase group that set off in pursuit of those at the head of the race. Teams that missed the move kept the pace high in the peloton and at one point the three groups were separated by less than a minute. Eventually the elastic snapped after some incredibly hard and fast riding, with Pedersen’s breakaway building up a ten minute advantage with 50 kilometres to go; ensuring they would fight it out for the stage win.

Things became incredibly tactical as the group whittled down, with attack after attack put in at the head of the race. Pedersen rode exceptionally well, continuing to force the pace and a group of 12 riders forged on with 35 kilometres to go. The group worked well together for a little while, before the attacks started once gain, where Pedersen was incredibly active for the team but he wasn’t able to get a smaller group clear. Heading into the last 20 kilometres, eventual stage winner Mohoric put in an attack and with the rest of the group looking at each other and the tactical games continuing, his gap began to expand.

With the stage win gone, the fight for the final two podium positions was just as equally intense with multiple attacks made on the run in. Pedersen tried several of his own, before launching one final well timed move going under two kilometres to go and gaining a gap. The chasers countered and Laporte eventually bridged across to him inside 500 metres to go, but Pedersen hung on for a brilliant third place on the line for the team; claiming his first ever Tour de France podium finish.

“There were a lot of teams who wanted to go out and race today,” expressed Pedersen at the finish. “It was the last chance for many teams to go in the break, so I think that’s why at coming up to the halfway point some teams started attacking. We had Cees for the sprint but we were aware that we had to follow the big groups, because it might end up like it did. Mohoric went at a smart moment and he’s also a clever rider. When he went, everyone looked at each other a bit. Once he got the gap, he was able to ride really fast out front as we started to take turns in the chase behind. It was a big tactical game in the finish; it was about being ready to react but also not to react on everything. I did all that I could.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “We knew it was going to be a tricky stage today. It was 50-50 if it was going to be a sprint finish or a breakaway. Quite a big crash in the beginning looked as if it would help five riders to get away, with Mohoric jumping them to make it six. From there it looked as if it might go in the way of a sprint but there were a lot of riders in the peloton not happy with that. After some action at the intermediate sprint the race kicked off again. We were sharp and Casper found himself in a move that went across to the front six, so there was a group of 20 guys out front. We tried to analyse a bit who was in the group and how they would race the final. I think Casper has done a really good job covering the moves he had to. There was just one move he couldn’t cover from Mohoric, which was a really strong counter over the top of Politt and nobody had the legs to follow that. Casper has done a really nice ride from there on and in the end picked up a podium place for us; and we can be happy with that.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 MOHORIČ Matej Bahrain - Victorious 4:19:17 120
2 LAPORTE Christophe Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 0:58 50
3 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM ,, 25
120 BOL Cees Team DSM 20:50 -
123 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM ,, -
132 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
135 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM ,, -