Cort climbs strongly on stage four of the Tour of GuangxiSun 22 Oct 2017
Clasica de Almeria winner Magnus Cort continued his recent run of strong performances at the Tour of Guangxi with 15th place on the tough summit finish of stage four, climbing strongly to maintain a solid overall position for ORICA-SCOTT.
The only summit finish of the 2017 race set the scene early on stage four with a breakaway quartet forming line the opening half an hour and enjoying a healthy gap for most of the day until the closing kilometres and the approach to the final climb.
Caught with only six kilometres to go the peloton sped past the remnants of the leading group before fresh attacks came on the short, but steep climb to the line with a heavy crash splitting the bunch.
Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) took the stage victory with Cort and Jack Haig both finishing strongly around 30seconds later. Cort is now 13th on the general classification with two more days of racing to come.
“The stage went pretty much according to plan today,” said sport director Matt Wilson. “The breakaway went away quite early and was pretty dangerous there for a while, but QuickStep-Floors, Astana and BMC controlled the gap as we got closer to the final.”
“We did what we intended to do and hit the climb in a good position, avoiding the crash, but I think Jack got a little bit too excited and covered one too many of the early moves and ended up being a bit pinned when it came down to the key attack.
“Nevertheless it was a really good ride by Magnus, he climbed very strongly and sits in quite a high position on GC. Depending how the next couple of stages play out he could even move up a few places.”
How it happened:
As had been the case over the first three days of racing, stage four began with speed and purpose with attacks coming out of the neutral zone and group of four riders forming a gap within the first half an hour of racing.
The quartet pushed on and developed a seven-minute lead over the bunch that they maintained past the halfway point.
Rolling terrain characterised the stage with the first summit finish and real testing climb of the race so far coming in the final five kilometres.
The gap to the leaders began to fall on the long drag to the closing climb, dropping below three minutes with 30kilometres left to race as riders from QuickStep-Floors and Astana led the charge with Team-Sky in close attendance.
Inside the final 15kilometres and less than a minute separated the field with the peloton finally making the catch with six kilometres remaining.
As expected the race exploded on the final climb with attacks coming immediately, a crash split the bunch as three riders went clear into the last kilometres with Wellens getting the better of Nicholas Roche (BMC) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).
Tour of Guangxi stage four results:
1. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) 03:23:18
2. Nicholas Roche (BMC-Racing-Team) ST
3. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +0:04
15. Magnus Cort (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:32
Tour of Guangxi general classification after stage four:
1. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) 12:09:00
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +0:04
3. Nicholas Roche (BMC-Racing-Team) +0:09
13. Magnus Cort (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:38
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com