Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) finally took the lead in the points classification on stage eight of the Vuelta a España.
After finishing second on stage four, Pedersen made his and his team’s intentions clear as he stated that every day his aim would be to “get the points.”
The Danish rider was then true to his word in the high mountains on stage eight.
Pedersen was a key component in the day’s breakaway that featured climbers of the calibre of Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and eventual stage winner Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck).
Once he had ensured that he took the maximum points on offer at the intermediate sprint point, Pedersen sat up ahead of the summit finish on the Colláu Fancuaya and waited for the peloton.
His breakaway compatriots were clearly more than willing to allow him to take the sprint points available but Pedersen explained afterwards that any attempt to beat him would have been in vain.
He said: “For them they could have tried to do the sprint but I’d have won it anyway. They just gave it to me. I also didn’t sprint on the top of the climbs to try to get mountains points, it wouldn’t make sense for me.
“I think it’s like a general respect for everyone. They didn’t need the points, I needed them so it was easier just to give it to me.”
Reflecting back on his impressive efforts, Pedersen admitted that his time in the breakaway wasn’t planned before the stage got underway.
He added: “The first climb was a real pain but luckily the legs were good. I managed to be in the first group over the top and the guys started to form the break so I jumped with the other guys. On the downhills I started thinking ‘ok Mads maybe it would be a good idea to go for the 20 points later on’ but it wasn’t easy.”
Earlier this week the 26-year-old confirmed to Cycling Weekly that he will miss the upcoming World Championships.
Now in the green jersey the Dane has a lead of five points over his nearest rival Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and as the Vuelta progresses he admitted that he will look to target a stage win to cement his advantage in the competition.
“I’m here to get the green jersey now and to take a stage win. I’m pretty sure the goals are achievable for me. If I can get a stage win it will bring a lot of points for me and secure the jersey. I’m just aiming for that now.
“I’m only just ahead and the race is still a long one but we keep fighting and I’ll try for more points.”