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Cort Nielsen, the stage hunter


Got a few minutes to spare? Go and have a look at Magnus Cort Nielsen‘s racing history then. His career boasts 26 victories, carefully scattered across the most prestigious contexts available in international cycling. As a rider, the Dane is not easily identifiable: very fast in sprints for sure, but not fast enough to rival the big sprinters; quite fast on the climbs as well, but not fast enough to act a valid contender in big classics or Grand Tours. Still, he is a formidable rider who is too often overlooked.

Today, on the finish line in Viareggio at the end of the extremely eventful Stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia 2023, he closed his personal circle, completing a Grand Tour set of stage wins and joining a club of now 106 riders who, over the years, have succeeded in doing so: not a few, but not many either, as this record has been chaseable for 90 years already. Cort Nielsen is the third Dane to do so, after Jesper Skibby and Mads Pedersen, with the latter joining the club only a few days ago in Naples.

“I am at the Giro d’Italia to win a stage and close the circle. I’m not yet in top condition, but I hope to find it along the way” he said on the eve of the Gran Partenza from the Costa dei Trabocchi. Well, 10 days later the EF Education-EasyPost rider has hit his target, and he now has another 11 to try and further boost his trophy case – which, by the way, already includes six stage wins at the Vuelta a España and two at the Tour de France.

Today was a breakaway day! That was clear from the get-go. After all, when Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco AlUla) makes a move, the peloton can never rest easy, and as we also saw Cort Nielsen’s blond moustache peeping out in the rain and fog, we knew it was going to be a hard catch for the sprinters’ teams. The only doubt was the size of the breakaway: 4 riders, down to 3 after the descent from Passo delle Radici, with the peloton never conceding more than a 4-minute margin.

The gap of the three attackers – with Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech) joining the adventure alongside Cort and De Marchi – narrowed kilometre by kilometre, but once it reached 45 seconds with 10 kilometres to go, it did not narrow any further. The lead group timed it to perfection, literally outrode the peloton and went for a well-deserved seafront sprint. Winning the three-man sprint was the easiest thing of the day for Cort Nielsen: De Marchi opened things up with a few hundred metres to go, but the Dane fired his shot to perfection. Accurate and timely like the true stage hunter he is.

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