Magnus Cort takes third in the sprint on stage two of the Vuelta a EspanaSun 21 Aug 2016
Young Dane Magnus Cort sprinted to a strong third place for ORICA-BikeExchange in a hectic finale on stage two of the Vuelta a Espana today.
Excellent teamwork from ORICA-BikeExchange saw the breakaway caught over the last 20kilometres before a crash disrupted the finale with Cort sprinting brilliantly to third behind stage winner Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep).
“I was quite a long way back after the crash with two kilometres to go,” said Cort at the finish. “I lost Jens Keukeleire and had to start my sprint from a long way back and I was looking for a gap and the best line to the finish.”
“In the end I had to go down the right hand side and it was close all the way to the line. It’s really nice to get a good result, we have a strong team here and I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to compete on the flatter stages."
24-year-old Damien Howson started stage two in the blue and white climber's jersey after yesterday's third place finish in the team time trial and cut a proud figure in the day’s peloton.
Sport director Neil Stephens was pleased with the team’s performance.
“It was a very good day for us today,” said Stephens. “Our first priority is to look after Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates and make sure we don’t lose any time, but you have to take your hat off to Magnus (Cort) he took his opportunity very well.”
“We said that if the chance came our way then Magnus would be able to have a go for himself and despite getting held up behind the crash he really went for it against the best pure sprinters in the Vuelta a Espana.
“To finish third on the stage is great, two days in a row now and we didn’t lose any time so we are still in a good position ahead of tomorrow's stage three.”
How it happened:
A lovely sunny lunchtime in Ourense welcomed the riders to the start of stage two with a flat initial 60kilometres before the third category climb, the Alto de Fontefria.
Three riders attacked early on in the stage and gradually developed a lead that stretched to over three minutes after an hour of racing.
Four and a half minutes was the maximum advantage gained by the three leaders, before the efforts of Giant-Alpecin and Trek-Segafredo brought the gap back down to near two minutes with 100kilometres to go.
Over the top of the Alto de Fontefria and the trio out front had two minutes 35seconds on the Team Sky led peloton with a long 20kilometre descent down to the Atlantic coast ahead.
The situation stayed the same for the next hour of racing before Philippe Gilbert (BMC) bridged across to the leading trio and attempted to inject new life into proceedings.
Despite the efforts of Gilbert the breakaway was finally caught inside the final 20kilometres with ORICA-BikeExchange, Team-Sky and Tinkoff all present at the front of the bunch.
A frantic finale followed with Bora-Argon18 and Dimension-Data upping the ante at the front of the peloton as a crash involving BMC split the group inside the final five kilometres.
The mass sprint unfurled with Meersman taking the victory and Cort finishing an impressive third.
Tomorrows stage three covers 176.4kilometres from Marin-Dumbria to Mirador de Ezaro. The stage includes the first summit finish of the race along with three categorised climbs in the final 60kilometres.
Vuelta a Espana stage two results:
1. Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep) 04:16:39
2. Schwazmann (Bora-Argon18) ST
3. Magnus Cort (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST
General classification after stage two:
1. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) 04:47:16
2. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) ST
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) ST
12. Magnus Cort (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:02