Cort avoids the late chaos to take sixth on stage three in BelgiumWed 9 Aug 2017
2017 Clasica de Almeria winner Magnus Cort managed to stay out of trouble on a wet and technical finish to stage three of the BinckBank Tour today to take sixth place for ORICA-SCOTT as the race moved into Belgium for the first time this week.
Another long and predominantly flat stage saw a five-rider breakaway out front for most of the day before being brought back inside the final ten kilometres ahead of a technical and scrappy finale.
Sunny for the most part, the rain started to fall on the finish town of Ardooie and brought caution into the peloton in what was already going to be a difficult, corner filled run in.
Unsurprisingly the bunch split and reduced going into the final kilometre and after good work with positioning Cort managed to avoid the late crash and contest the sprint.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hnasgrohe) took the victory in another closely ran affair with Cort in sixth place and Stefan Kung (BMC) holding on to the race lead going into tomorrow’s fourth stage.
“We knew what to expect from the final,” said sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “It has been the same finishing circuit for the last few years now and we were well aware of how important our positioning would be for the technical last two kilometres.”
“Keeping in mind our objective to not lose any time on the general classification and to try and counter any splits, we went with Jens Keukeleire as last man with Magnus and both of them did a great job of staying out of trouble,
“Yet again Magnus did well, he has the form and his positioning is very good and his results are consistently up there in the high positions. Once you actually get the win then that’s what breeds the confidence that will bring that extra element.
“At this stage of the season everybody is happy to see a breakaway go away early on this kind of day and there were no surprises with how the stage played out.
“Overall the situation is the same for us, we keep competing and making sure our positioning is good for the sprints and look ahead to those two key stages at the weekend.”
How it happened:
The races first Belgian stage and from the profile of the parcours set to be another day for the sprinters, a five-man breakaway duly slipped off the front early on and quickly developed a three minute advantage on the drifting peloton led by BMC.
Fortunately the conditions were a lot drier than yesterdays stage two and the mood within the bunch was relaxed, the gap to the five leaders fell briefly to one minute through the feed zone with 75kilometres to go before stretching back out past two minutes again.
Lotto-Soudal were well represented at the front of the bunch as ORICA-SCOTT began to move up on the right hand side with 60kilometres left to race and the finishing circuits of Ardooie approaching.
The speed increased in earnest over the final 25kilometres with the race finally coming back together over the last ten kilometres. A technical run into the finale lay ahead with plenty of road furniture and a tight left then right chicane leading into the home straight.
Rain started to fall over the closing kilometres, adding to an already technical finish. ORICA-SCOTT were embroiled in the intense fight for position at the front of the peloton as the pack started to splinter on the wet corners.
A crash with one kilometre to go further reduced the bunch before a scrappy sprint unfolded with Sagan taking the victory and Cort doing well to finish in sixth place.
BinckBank Tour stage three results:
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 04:14:01
2. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) ST
3. Rudy Barbier (AG2R-La-Mondiale) ST
6. Magnus Cort (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
General classification after stage three:
1. Stefan Kung (BMC) 08:15:08
2. Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) 00:00:04
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team-Sunweb) 00:00:05
20. Alexander Edmondson (ORICA-SCOTT) 00:00:26
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com