Magnus Cort in yellow after Paris-Nice TTT
A powerful team effort put Magnus in the race lead
Magnus Cort took over the leader’s jersey at Paris-Nice after a superb TTT effort with his teammates on stage three.
We finished just 1.4 seconds short of the stage victory, but a huge turn from Magnus in the final kilometer fired him ahead of his rivals in the race for the yellow jersey. Magnus now leads Paris-Nice by one second going into stage four.
“I am very happy,” Magnus said afterwards. “You know you can’t expect to come in yellow, but we were dreaming big today. We have a really strong team for this team time trial, so it is not completely unexpected.”
The organizers of the French stage race shook up the format for this TTT. For Paris-Nice’s first team time trial in 30 years, the time of the first rider to cross the line would count, instead of the fourth, as team time trials are traditionally run.
Going into the stage, Magnus was just ten seconds back from yellow, so the team decided to go all-in for him. Marijn van den Berg, Owain Doull, Andrea Piccolo, Stefan Bissegger, Tom Scully, and Neilson Powless committed 100% to the plan. They rolled through their pace line at nearly 57 km/hr, crossing the first time check in fifth place, ten seconds back of eventual race winners Jumbo-Visma, just over halfway into the 32.2-km race. Undaunted, they increased their effort, maintaining their blistering speed, while rotating smoothly through their formation to pull back time on their rivals.
“The TTT is always a difficult discipline,” Magnus said. “I quite like the course here. It is not very technical, but there were still some rolling hills, so it was not completely flat. It was all about catching the speed and sitting there doing good turns, and also having some good recoveries in the wheels for your next turn.”
Going into the final kilometer, we knew that it was going to be a close run, both for the stage win and for yellow. When Magnus saw the finish line, he launched his sprint with all of the strength that his teammates had left him. He crossed the line just in time to earn the yellow jersey.
After the podium, Magnus thanked his teammates.
"Obviously, I am very happy," he said. "It’s always a bit frustrating, when you are so close to winning, but you don’t get it, especially in a TTT. We still get something out of it with this jersey, but really it is the whole team who did the job. I am just one piece of the whole puzzle here. We all rode well. Otherwise, you can't do a good team time trial like we did."
Tomorrow, we will defend the race lead. Stage four runs from Saint-Amand-Montrond southeast towards La Loge des Gardes, with several hard climbs on the 164.7-km route. First up is the Côte de Vernet, then the Col du Beaujolais, before the summit finish atop La Loge des Gardes, a 6.7-km-long climb with an average gradient of 7.1%. It will be tough for Magnus to keep yellow, but he is up for the challenge.
“It is unfortunately quite hard tomorrow, but I will do my best of course!” he said.
Neilson Powless is also ready for the showdown on La Loge des Gardes. After today’s TTT, the American is just eight seconds back on GC.
Well done and good luck tomorrow team!