Another stage at the Tour de France and another victory for Astana Pro Team. Magnus Cort brings the Kazakh team a second stage win in a row, taking stage 15 in a perfect sprint from a breakaway group, in the streets of Carcassonne.
It’s amazing! It was one of my biggest dreams when I’ve started riding a bike. This is my first Tour de France and I’m so happy to win a stage here. I want to thank my team for giving me a chance to ride this Tour. A special thank to Michael Valgren as well, who did an absolutely incredible job today, providing me with a huge support! Everything was just perfect today and our sports director Lars Michaelsen had great confidence in me for winning this stage. Many days ago we already discussed this stage and he told me it could suit me really well. So, today I went in a breakaway together with Michael Valgren and, finally, everything worked out perfectly. So, I’m very happy! – explained Magnus Cort.
Together with Michael Valgren, Magnus Cort became a part of a long-day breakaway at this stage 15 of the Tour de France (Millau – Carcassonne, 181 km). A huge selection in the break on the 1st category climb Pic de Nore. Both Astana riders were very active and, finally, made part of the leading group, which played for the stage victory.
Inside the final 7 kilometer, Magnus Cort launched an attack from the break to go clear together with just two riders, Bauke Mollema and Ion Izagirre. At the finish line in Carcassonne, the Astana rider was the strongest, taking his first Tour stage win.
– Yesterday we all were happy with the win of Omar Fraile and this gave me confidence that everything is possible for me in this Tour. In the final I tried to hold a big concentration on my rivals, because I knew someone could attack. I was pretty sure in my sprint, but there’s always a risk that someone would try to do something before the finish. So, I was able to response to all the attacks and to go for a sprint, – added Magnus Cort.
After doing a great job and closing all the attacks of the rivals, Michael Valgren finished fourth.
– I’m really happy for Magnus, I think we showed some great teamwork, as we made the right decisions on the right moments. We both felt very strong on the final climb, and after I gave it all it was Magnus who was able to jump with two very good climbers. And when we slowed down in the chasing group, I knew he could finish it. Yesterday, Omar Fraile showed us how to do it, it’s great that we now won two stages in a row with our team.– said Michael Valgren.
The peloton finished calmly on 13 minutes and 11 seconds behind Magnus Cort, Jakob Fuglsang and all other Astana riders crossed the line safely in the group. After stage 15, Fuglsang still holds his ninth position in the general classification of the Tour de France.
– Before the Tour de France I already talked with Magnus Cort about a chance to win this victory, and yesterday I repeated this once more, to be sure he would be focussed for today. The guys did a great job and showed some intelligent tactics. Before the Tour we already focussed on stage 14 and 15, and to win them both is what we hoped for, but it’s amazing to see how everything comes together on these days. These victories are real team victories. From the riders on their bikes, but also from all the staff involved in preparing them for the biggest stage race in the world. – told sport director Lars Michaelsen.
Tomorrow is the second rest day of the race.