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In a very aggressive and hectic finale, Cort joins a 9-rider group that holds off the peloton, and finally finishes off great work from his teammate Bøchman by taking an easy sprint win 

Photo: Cyclingphoto.dk

JEROME BAUGNIES

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MAGNUS CORT

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MICHAEL VALGREN

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STÖLTING SERVICE GROUP

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TOUR DES FJORDS

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30.05.2014 @ 19:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard
Magnus Cort Nielsen (Cult) proved that he is a future star in the making when he beat the WorldTour riders to win today's third stage of the Tour des Fjords. The Dane joined teammate Lasse Bøchman in a 9-rider group that escaped in the finale and beat compatriot Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo) to take both the stage win and the leader's jersey away from local hero Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
 
One year ago Magnus Cort proved that he has a huge potential when he won two stages of the Tour of Denmark in a field loaded with WorldTour riders. Today he repeated that feat when he won the third stage of the Tour des Fjords in equally impressive fashion.
 
The Dane made use of a hilly and very uncontrollable finale and lots of aggression for the Tinkoff-Saxo and Cannondale teams to make a smart and well-timed move. The many attacks had put the Katusha team of overall leader and local hero Alexander Kristoff on their kneews and this opened the door for a change in the overall lead.
 
A three-rider group had escaped when Cort and teammate Lasse Bøchman made it into a 6-rider group that took off in pursuit. They worked hard together in a quest to bridge the gap and did so inside the final 3km of the race.
 
From here Bøchman sacrificed his own chance to make sure that no one was able to attack while Cort prepared himself to launch his furious sprint. He did so in the final few hundred metres and easily held off his compatriot Michael Valgren and stage 1 winner Jerome Baugnies (Wanty) to take the stage win.
 
The stage took place on a 163km route from Hjelmeland to Forsand and had a brutal start as the riders went up two big climbs inside the first 30km. From there, the terrain was rolling all the way to the finish and even though the final big climb came 30km from the line, the many short, steep hills were set to test the sprinters.
 
The terrain invited to attacks and the first part of the stage was extremely fast. The peloton splintered to pieces already on the first climb as attacks were constantly launched and by the time Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) took the maximum point on the second climb which was the only to offer KOM points, the peloton had almost been halved.
 
Txurruka got back into the fold while the attacking continued but when the break finally took off, the Basque was again part of the action. He was joined by Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo), Gregory Habeaux (Wanty), Lennart Hofstede (Rabobank) and Rasmus Guldhammer (Tre-For) in the day-long escape.
 
For a long time Fridtjof Roeinaas (Sparebanken) and Sondre Hurum (Motiv3) tried to bridge the gap but they never accomplished their mission. Meanwhile, Katusha had taken control of the peloton and kept the gap stable at around 5 minutes.
 
While Habeaux made sure to win the first two intermediate sprints, Cannondale and MTN-Qhubeka started to assist in the chase and later ActiveJet also contributed. With 40km to go, the gap was down to 1.30 which prompted Txurruka to take off on his own.
 
Cannondale and ActiveJet drove the pace until the former launched Davide Formolo across to the chase group. This set the scene for lots of attacks on the many climbs, with Tinkoff-Saxo being particularly active.
 
When the dust had settled Valgren, Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) and Sam Oomen (Rabobank) had a gap but this didn't stop the attacking. A 6-rider chase group with Cort, Bøchman, Bruno Pires (Tinkoff), Baugnies, Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthCare) and Marco Marcato (Cannondale) took off and from there it was a fierce pursuit between the three groups.
 
The two escapes merged with 3km to go and Baugnies, Valgren and the Cannondale riders all tried to escape on the final climbs. However, the 9 riders were still together when they powered down towards the flamme rouge by which time Bøchman hit the front.
 
The Dane did a perfect job to set up his teammate for the sprint and Cort delivered on his promises by taking an excellent stage win.
 
10 seconds later Kristoff won the sprint for 10th but it was all too late. Cort takes over the lead with a 2-second advantage over Baugnies while Kristoff drops to fourth, 13 seconds back. Cort and Cult face a difficult task tomorrow when they will try to defend the lead in the fourth stage which has a big climb early on and after a flat middle section ends with three laps of a circuit with a difficult hill.

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