Mads Pedersen powers to sprint win on stage 1 of 2024 Criterium du Dauphine

One of the very few sprint opportunities at the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine, Mads Pedersen has taken full advantage to secure a powerful victory ahead of Sam Bennett on the opening stage.

With just two riders getting up the road and forming a breakaway, the duo of Mathis Le Berre (Arkéa - B&B Hotels) and Mark Donovan (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) never really posed a threat to the peloton and as such they were allowed to build up an advantage of up towards the five minute mark at one point in the day.

With two teams doing most of the work on the front of the peloton, Lidl-Trek for Mads Pedersen and Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team for Sam Bennett, the time gap steadily began to drop as the riders began to near the finale. When the riders began their final lap of the finishing circuit with just under 30km to go, just 52 seconds was the difference.

Finally, with 16 kilometres to go, the breakaway was done. As the riding stalled afterwards, the pace completely went out of the peloton. Attempting to take advantage of the lull, UAE Team Emirates' Nils Politt attacked off the front of the bunch and was joined by Marco Haller. When that move was snuffed out, Jonas Rutsch attempted a counter but again, the peloton reacted.

After all the general classification hopefuls were safely navigated through the 3km to go banner, preparations for the bunch sprint finale began in earnest. The pace was incredibly high with the race split across the road into different trains as they went through the Flamme Rouge with the Lidl-Trek team taking control at the very front.

Once the sprints were launched, everyone was fighting for Mads Pedersen's wheel but in a tight finale, no one was able to come around the Dane as Pedersen secured victory ahead of Sam Bennett.

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