Pedersen powers to win stage 13 in Vuelta

·2-min read

Mads Pedersen has shown supreme power as he sprinted to victory on stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana, finally earning a win after three times finishing runner-up during this year's edition.

On an uphill finish after a 168.4km flat ride from Ronda to Montilla on Friday, the Dane edged out Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) after chasing a long sprint from Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates), who came third.

The points classification leader made the most of the challenging denouement as he crossed the line with his arms in the air after a dominant win.

"We knew that the final was super good so the boys did good today and everyone was focussed the whole day," Pedersen, the 2019 world champion, said.

"I'm happy that I could finally get the win and give the boys back for all the work they did so far. It's really nice for all of us.

"It's super nice. We came here for a stage win and now we have won. We'll keep fighting to get one more. It's super nice with a comfortable lead in the points jersey."

Race leader Remco Evenepoel, of QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, who suffered a crash on Thursday, came through Friday's stage safely and retained his red jersey, still in charge 2 minutes 41 seconds clear of Primoz Roglic.

AG2R Citreon's Ben O'Connor remains the top Australian, in 11th overall 8:42 down on Evenepoel, while Jai Hindley stayed 13th at 10:56.

Queenslander Jay Vine still leads the King of the Mountains, but will doubtless be tested in Saturday's 14th stage, with the riders having to endure constant climbs in the Sierra de la Pandera in southern Spain.

Before the stage, Juan Ayuso returned a positive COVID-19 test but UAE Team Emirates said the Spaniard would continue in the race because his PCR report showed he was asymptomatic and had a very low risk of infectivity.

Cofidis rider Jose Herrada, who left the race ahead of the stage 10 time trial after testing positive, was seemingly unimpressed that some others were able to continue racing.

"Some go home without knowing their viral load. Others race on knowing they are positive while waiting for viral load results. Let the circus go on," Herrada tweeted.

"And no, I'm not talking about Ayuso, as someone has already said. Mostly because I don't know his case in-depth enough to talk about it."

"I was surprised," the 19-year-old Ayuso said while wearing a mask after the race.

"It was determined that the viral load was small and it wasn't a danger for the rest of the riders, so I could compete without any problems."

Several riders have had to drop from the race because of positive virus tests, including 2018 winner Simon Yates and Sam Bennett, who beat Pedersen in the second and third stages.

With AP