Mads Würtz Schmidt is the new Danish champion

Photo: Dan Møller / danphotography.dk

Israel Start-Up Nation has a new national road champion on its roster after Mads Würtz Schmidt powered to victory in Denmark on Sunday.

In one of the strongest fields ever at the Danish national championships, Würtz Schmidt proved to be on a fantastic day, always staying attentive near the front of the race. First, he bridged across – solo – to a strong breakaway group, and, later on, he made the final selection, getting clear with two other riders in the last couple of kilometers.

In the sprint, Würtz Schmidt had no problems beating his two companions, crossing the line first as the new Danish national champion. Today’s victory is the second one this season for the versatile Dane after he won stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico in March.

Mads Würtz Schmidt: “Already on my way to the start, I told my fiancée that I felt I had good legs today. I was super motivated to do well, especially in such a good field with all the best Danish riders present.

“After closing the gap to the group by myself, I needed a bit of time to recover but after that, I felt good again. The final was all about riding on instinct. When I managed to get a gap and I saw that I only had two other guys with me, I knew I had a good chance of winning this. On the last kilometer, the others didn’t want to pull so I just concentrated on keeping the pace high and getting into the final corner in the first position. When they didn’t pass me in the corner, I knew I would win. It’s an amazing feeling!”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

Würtz Schmidt takes fifth place on stage 5 of Dauphiné

Mads Würtz Schmidt did well to sprint to fifth place on the challenging stage 5 of Critérium du Dauphiné. Israel Start-Up Nation’s team leader Ben Hermans also finished in the reduced peloton to keep his 17th place overall.

On paper, Thursday’s stage was another good opportunity for a strong break to make it all the way. Multiple riders tried to get up the road early on and, ultimately, five riders managed to get a gap. However, the peloton never let the group get more than a two-minute advantage and as the pack took on the final steep climb, it all came back together again.

With gradients of nearly 20%, many riders got dropped due to the fast pace at the front, leaving a select group of riders to fight for the stage win. Würtz Schmidt was well-positioned leading into the sprint and the strong Dane put on a great performance to take fifth place on the line. Geraint Thomas (INEOS) won the stage after a late attack, while Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA – hansgrohe) kept his overall lead.

Mads Würtz Schmidt: “This was a warm and hot day! I tried to get in the break at the beginning of the stage, but we didn’t get a big enough gap. Then Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quickstep) went away and because he was so close in the GC, the peloton never let the break go. We went fast all day, which made for a hectic day as well as the wind was quite strong too. On the last climb, I just kept my own pace, making sure not to get dropped and to make it over the top with the group. When Thomas attacked, I was actually thinking about going as well. In hindsight, I should probably have done that. In any case, I’m glad I was up there today and had the legs to race hard.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com