Baloise Belgium Tour
Stage 4: Durbuy – Durbuy
Belgium Saturday 17 June 2023 172.6 km
Pedersen moves onto the podium
Casper Pedersen is on track to become the first Danish rider in 50 years to finish in the top three overall at the Belgium Tour, after a solid and gutsy ride on the fourth stage of the race, which took in numerous short but hard climbs around Durbuy.
Soudal Quick-Step was in the spotlight from the very beginning, controlling the gap of the escapees and remaining at the front even after the attackers were reeled in, with more than 60 kilometers to go. Fifth at the start of the day, Casper put in a probing attack a couple of kilometers later, and then tried to organise the chase behind lone leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), once the Dutchman went clear.
The 27-year-old, victorious this season at the Figueira Champions Classic, put in a strong effort as he tried to reduce the margin, and despite not getting any help from the other riders in the group, he continued to leave everything out there. At the end of the stage, he was rewarded for this with a place on the podium, which catapulted him to third overall, just ahead of teammate Yves Lampaert.
“We knew that today would be the hardest stage of the race, a decisive one for the general classification. We were really motivated and I felt from the start I had really good legs. Stan and Jannik followed the first moves, while Michael, Fabio and Tim kept myself and Yves in a good position. It was some great team work.”
“In the end I found myself part of a select group together with Yves and we just raced. The tactics of the group were frustrating, because nobody wanted to try and go for the win, but I went full gas on the climb with 30 kilometers to go and tried to do my best. Being on the podium of both the stage and GC isn’t bad at the end of the day. All our attention now will shift to the final stage, where we’ll try to help Fabio”, said Casper in Durbuy.
Photo credit: ©Mark Van Hecke / Getty Images