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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

Debutant Cort Nielsen dominates three-man sprint as Dane claims first ever Tour stage win

Geraint Thomas went into the Tour de France’s second rest day with his lead intact after watching Magnus Cort Nielsen win Stage 15.

Magnus Cort Nielsen pictured crossing the finish line on Sunday.
Magnus Cort Nielsen pictured crossing the finish line on Sunday.

DENMARK’S MAGNUS CORT Nielsen sprinted to his first Tour de France stage victory and Geraint Thomas maintained his lead in Carcassonne on Saturday.

Cort Nielsen eased away from Ion Izagirre and Bauke Mollema at the end of stage 15 to give Astana a second victory in as many days following Omar Fraile’s success on Saturday.

The promising Dane, making his Tour debut this year, was part of a group of chasers that caught Rafal Majka with over 14 kilometres to go in the 181.5km route from Millau.

Following a series of attacks and counter-attacks, Michael Valgren helped team-mate Cort Nielsen put himself in a position to burst away for what was ultimately a comfortable victory after an impressive climb.

Majka led at the top of the Pic de Nore after passing Fabian Grellier and Julien Bernard, but the Pole’s hopes of securing a fourth Tour stage win ended when he was reeled in.

Source: Le Tour De France/YouTube

Ireland’s Dan Martin moved away from the peloton to go on a solo mission at the foot of the Pic de Nore in an attempt to claw back some time after suffering a late puncture on Saturday.

The UAE Team Emirates rider was over a minute ahead of the peloton as he climbed strongly, but he and Peter Sagan were caught with 12km to go.

There were no changes in the general classification battle, Thomas staying a minute and 39 seconds ahead of team-mate Chris Froome with a rest day to come on Monday.

The contenders to finish in the yellow jersey in Paris next weekend crossed the line over 13 minutes after Cort Nielsen.

Cycling: 105th Tour de France 2018 / Stage 15 Source: Justin Setterfield

Peter Sagan’s dominance of the Points Classification has resumed in 2018 after he was banished from last year’s race following a crash with Mark Cavendish in Vittel.

Sagan has five green jerseys to his name after an incredible run from 2012 to 2016, and a record-equalling sixth crown looks almost guaranteed providing he can make it to Paris.

Victory in Sunday’s stage could have confirmed his success with a week to spare but he will have to wait a little bit longer after finishing the day with the peloton.

Only Erik Zabel has more victories in the points category than the Slovakian, but his record, which has stood since 2001, looks set to be matched over the coming days.

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