Niki Terpstra’s solo victory at the 2018 Tour of Flanders may have made the headlines, but 22-year-old Dane Mads Pedersen’s second place was as impressive and perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the 102nd edition of the race.
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The run into the race finish in Oudenaarde begins at the top of the Paterberg and consists of long, exposed stretches of road. Pedersen’s gap to Terpstra stuck at around 30 seconds in this finale, but with only 15 seconds on the chasing group — including Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet — Pedersen being caught initially seemed inevitable.
Racing aboard the aero-specific Trek Madone, Pedersen would have been grateful of his bike choice in the final run-in, using an integrated aero cockpit, deep carbon wheels and the frameset itself for maximum aerodynamic efficiency when it was needed most.