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Magnus Cort was king for the day on Sunday.
The Dane took his polka dot jersey on a 130km solo adventure on stage 3 of the Tour de France and played champion in front of thousands of raucous local spectators.
“It was one of the best days of my career,” Cort said after the stage. “This is a day that I will remember forever. Being out there alone with all of those people, the Danish flags, was truly something special. It was really a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Cort struck out as soon as the race left Vejle and scooped a full haul of climber points, padding the KoM lead he amassed with his aggressive day in the break on Saturday.
He’s likely to keep his dotted prize through until Thursday and its sharp Longwy kick or Friday and its trip to the Belles Filles summit.
“It’s always huge to do something in the Tour,” Cort said. “To be two days in the break and be in the mountains jersey in Denmark, it’s been a dream for me.”
Cort is one of 10 Danes at this year’s Tour. The bike-mad nation came out en masse for three days of celebration of its delayed grand départ.
“I couldn’t get bored out there with all the people cheering me on,” Cort said. “I’d never been on a solo break like that. It was a huge day out. There was a lot of wind, but a crowd like that gives you energy.
“It’s been unbelievable, these last three days in Denmark. I never imagined it would be this big. It seems like a lot of the Danish spectators are very happy to have been visited by the Tour.”
⛰ Just listen to that crowd… One more KOM point for 🇩🇰 @MagnusCort who secures his polka dot jersey. ⚪🔴
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 3, 2022
Cort put polka dots on the Danish flag for almost three hours Sunday.
A shooting incident in a Copenhagen mall put a tragic stop to the Danish delight later that afternoon. EF Education-EasyPost was likely already preparing for a late flight to France by that point, where Cort will continue his reign as king of the mountains on Tuesday.
Powless poised, Urán going down in Danish départ
Denmark wasn’t as kind to Rigoberto Urán as it was to Cort.
The Colombian veteran was slow out of the start gate in the opening Copenhagen TT, was victim of a crash on the Great Belt bridges Saturday, and lost more time in another late pile-up Sunday. At two minutes back, Urán’s GC challenge hit a pot-hole before he even got to France.
Meanwhile, rising U.S. all-rounder Neilson Powless is poised at 55 seconds, 41 back on reference rider and defending champion Tadej Pogačar.
The cobbles of stage 5 on Wednesday and the Tour’s first mountaintop finish on the gravelly final at Les Planche des Belles Filles on Friday could prove decisive in EF Education-EasyPost’s focus for the rest of the race – and could call time on Cort’s reign as mountain king.