Brutally honest Mads Pedersen races Tour of Flanders but not for victory: " To win Flanders you have to be 100 percent and that's not me"

Lidl-Trek had to take the toughest of blows at Dwars door Vlaanderen. Jasper Stuyven and Alex Kirsch crashed hard enough that they will lose the rest of the spring classics; Mads Pedersen did recover enough to be at the Tour of Flanders, but far from his best as he is still struggling with the effects of the crash.

"Winning the Tour or Roubaix and I have to choose? With this body I'm going 100 percent for Roubaix. Then I might have recovered a bit more," Pedersen admitted in an interview with Sporza. "Fortunately I can sleep on my back and my night's sleep is not too bad, as far as that is possible. Eight, it is what it is. After such a fall, your wounds soak into your underwear and sheets. It's a pain in the ass. You don't recover in a few days. I will have to race with a different mindset. To win Flanders you have to be 100 percent and that's not me. But on the other hand: everything is possible, even if everything has to go my way."

It was a true disaster for the American team, which lost Stuyven - second at the E3 Saxo Classic - as a card to play for a top result. "He had regained his good form. He didn't deserve to be sitting on the ground like that. Just like Wout, by the way. We will miss Jasper." Pedersen believes Roubaix suits him better and that by then he will have been able to recover a bit more, the brutality of the Tour of Flanders means that riders not arriving at their best will suffer. The Dane is one of the most consistent and reliable riders in the peloton, an absolute machine, but no-one knows what at what level he will be in this Sunday.

"It wouldn't be smart to change shoulders at this point. We are in a good rhythm and we like to race aggressively. It would be a mistake to sit back, even though I am not the man who draws up the tactics," he says of the team tactics for the upcoming race. "That's what the team management does. But I don't believe we can just watch other teams get the job done. Don't make the headline that Lidl-Trek will work, but I would be surprised if we don't use a man."

Lidl-Trek for Tour of Flanders:

Mads Pedersen, Tim Declercq, Daan Hoole, Jonathan Milan, Toms Skujins, Otto Vergaerde and Edward Theuns.

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