Cort avoids the crashes to finish 16th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Sat 25 Feb 2017


Magnus Cort was the highest place finisher toady for ORICA-SCOTT taking 16th place in a chaotic opening to the one-day Belgium classic, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Half-way into the race, ORICA-SCOTT’s luck began to fade with mechanical problems and a couple of riders being caught up in crashes, which inevitably effect the teams momentum and aims of a top result.

“We had some bad luck today, Sam Bewley was in a crash and had to abandon, he had pain in his knee but thankfully there is nothing broken,” explained sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “Jens Keukeleire was also involved in a crash, he could finish the race but then was out of the front group.”

“After the big crash with Jens, we still had Magnus Cort and Luke Durbridge near the front. Luke then had to change bikes and in these races sometimes the cars are so far behind it takes a lot of time to get to the rider and then the race is lost.”

With the different challenges to overcome, Lapage acknowledged that these problems are a common part of the Belgium classics races and was happy with the team’s determination and commitment to the race and Magnus' top twenty placing.

“The guys did as best they could,” Lapage continued. “Sometimes it goes like that with these races, if there’s a crash and two of your guys are involved then almost half of the team is out.”

“We just have to accept that and keep fighting. We certainly had some back luck today but tomorrow is another chance.”

How it happened:

Under typically grey skies and chilly early season weather the teams completed the sign on in the Ghent six-day velodrome before heading out in front of huge crowds to take on the challenging 198kilometre one-day classic.

With 13categorised climbs and eight cobble sections ahead, the first part of the race remained fairly steady and controlled.

After 50kilometres of racing two rider were given some freedom and created the first breakaway of the day. Shortly after four-chasers made contact and the new, six-rider break opened up a lead of 4”45, eventually creeping out to over eight minutes.  

As the race entered the main section with consecutive climbs and cobble sections, a crash around 110kilometres saw Bewley unfortunately have to abandon the race. Minutes later the misfortune continued with another large crash invloving Keukeleire, creating havoc in the peloton and many of the race favourites effected.

The leaders advantage finally dropped down to just two-minutes and as the race headed back towards Ghent a small group of favourites bridged across as the race really heated up. 

The race winning move came around 25kilometres with Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sep Vanmaarke (Cannondale-Drapac) opening up a small but big enough gap.

Twelve riders were hot on the tail of the leading trio, coming as close as 30seconds but were unable to make contact. Van Avermaet took the race honours with ORICA-SCOTT concluding the day in 16th.

Tomorrow the team are back in action in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne ready for another opportunity.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad results:

1. Greg Van Avermaert (BMC Racing) 4:48:04
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST
3. Sep Van Maarke (Cannondale-Drapac) ST
16. Magnus Cort (ORICA-SCOTT) +2:41


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