Tour de France 2022 – Magnus Cort sneaks in to stage 10 victory in the Alps as Lennard Kamna moves up to second in the GC

On his first day without a polka dot jersey, Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) returned to the Tour de France podium as the winner of stage 10 in the sumptuous alpine ski resort of Megève. The mustachioed Dane battled with Australian Nick Schultz (BikeExchange-Jayco) on the local altiport track as the remnants of the day’s 25-man break came together in a dramatic stage finish 148km from Morzine.

And the excitement didn’t end with Cort’s narrow win over Schultz, with 10th-placed Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) having to endure a nine-minute wait to find out if he had done enough to take the lead. of Tadej Pogacar’s race (UAE Team Emirates).

The two-time Slovenian champion ended a stressful day – marred by the withdrawal of teammate George Bennett with Covid – with a whiplash on the nose of mainfield to retain the yellow jersey by just 11 seconds over Germany’s Kamna, who was heartbroken after rising 19 places in the rankings to second place.

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Elsewhere, there have been no major changes in the overall standings with Dane Jonas Vingaard (Jumbo-Visma) still 39 seconds behind favorite Pogacar but now in third place. Two British riders from Ineos Grenadiers – Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates – complete the top five at 1’17” and 1’25” respectively before two consecutive finishes at the Alpine summit at Col du Granon and Alpe d’Huez. .

Spanish veteran Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious) led the stage until two kilometers from the end – and although he missed out on a fifth Tour stage victory a decade after his last, the 38-year-old moved up 15 places to knock Neilson Powless (EF Education-EastPost) out of the top 10 on a day when American Cort’s teammate made headlines.

Cort’s second career Tour victory came after 10 riders from the breakaway fought tooth and nail after coming together in spectacular fashion on the home stretch. First, the lone leader Sanchez was caught by Schultz and the American Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) after the top of the final climb, two kilometers from the finish.

Dutchman Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) then caught and passed the trio under the red flame, only for the pace to slow down on the track strip allowing the return of a chasing group containing Cort and led by Frenchman Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis).

Sanchez opened the final sprint with Schultz in his wheel. The 27-year-old Australian looked destined for a first Grand Tour stage victory only to be denied by a late, clinical acceleration from Cort, whose finishing speed and superior lunge ensured the day belonged to the man whose scourge of bombings in his native Denmark lit up the opening phase of this race.

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Cort’s victory was preceded by a long foray past Italian team-mate Alberto Bettiol’s breakaway who held a 30-second lead going into the final climb despite the race being neutralized for 15 minutes due to protesters blocking the road with about 36 km remaining. .

“I can’t believe what just happened today,” an ecstatic Cort said. “I was on the limit for so long on this climb. Luckily I had [Alberto] Bettiol, who was really strong and in front. It meant I could sit and save energy. I was losing my place in the group in the last two kilometers, but suddenly everything fell back into place and I was there and I was able to take it in the sprint.

“It’s huge. For me, my type of rider, it doesn’t get bigger than that. On my first Tour, I won a stage [in 2018], and I’ve tried a lot since then, but to be able to win again is amazing. When we pulled onto the airport runway, I looked down and saw the Tour de France sign and thought, “This one’s mine”. I just had to take it, no matter the cost.

It took an hour and a half of frantic riding for the day’s break to form, with a movement of 25 riders finally being led onto the road on the day’s second climb after an intriguing 65km opener that even saw four-time Tour champion Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) tests his legs up front.

A strong movement included Cort, Kamna and the aforementioned riders as well as a host of strong riders such as Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies), Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) and the oldest rider in the race, the Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal). There was also a place for Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), the Spaniard who in 2016 won a mirror image of this stage from Megève to Morzine for Movistar.

Once the hierarchy of the route was established, the stage lost a lot of its dynamism. Frenchman Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) completed two climbs on pole position before riding flawlessly with Briton Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) on the descent from the penultimate peak inside the last 50 kilometers.

The duo held a small lead until they were caught and passed by Bettiol, who had a 28-second gap on the pursuers when he was met by a wall of pink flares and several seated protesters from the other side of the road. Although he managed to avoid obstacles, Bettiol was stopped by race organizers moments later and the stage was neutralized until the safety of protesters and riders could be guaranteed.

‘Not nice’ – Bettiol weaves his way through flare smoke as protesters block road

Shortly after the restart, Kamna was elevated to the virtual yellow jersey as the gap to the peloton increased above the 8’43” by which he trailed Pogacar coming out of the second day of rest. Bettiol was caught halfway through the Cat.2 Montée de l’Altiport de Megève by the impressive Wright, the Frenchman Thomas and the German Georg Zimmermann (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert).

Van Baarle and Cort led a chasing group before Bettiol tried his luck again with Zimmermann in the final 10 kilometers. Soon there were a dozen runners up front before Bettiol appeared and Sanchez made what appeared to be the decisive move, with the veteran Spaniard using his experience to choose the right moment to clear himself on the gentle climb .

With Schultz leading the chase but Sanchez’s teammate Wright scoring every move, things were set perfectly for a tense finale. Schultz and Jorgenson caught Sanchez moments after reaching the top of the climb – but with the road still uphill towards the finish for another two kilometres, other riders drip fire back, buoyed by the example of Van Baarle, who made the connection just below the red flame.

One such rider who refused to back down was Cort, who played his cards right to claim the second Tour victory of his career four years after his first. It was a worthy triumph for the 29-year-old who took part in the first four breakaways of this Tour and broke a long-standing record by reaching the top of the race’s first eleven consecutive climbs during his stint at polka dots. .

After a day of deadlock at the GC – despite Kamna’s meteoric rise to second place – the battle for yellow is set to heat up on Wednesday with the first of two key finishes at the top. Stage 11 of 151.7 km from Albertville includes the mythical Col du Galibier before the showdown on the Col du Granon, unused on the Tour since 1986.

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