Magnus Cort believes that his move from Orica-Scott to Astana over the winter will provide him with an increased number of opportunities to ride for himself. The 25-year-old Dane signed a two-year deal with the team last August after three seasons with Orica.
Though it is a Kazakhstani team, there are a lot of familiar faces there too and plenty of chances for Cort to speak his native language.
"I think that here I will get more chances. I can race more the way that I want to race and I get more opportunities," he told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Oman.
"Of course, there are some changes, but in the end, they are both teams in the WorldTour so there are limits to how different they can be. We go to the same races and in training, I have a Danish coach now, so that is even more of a factor. We can do some local routes in Denmark. That's not so different. Also, my contact sports director is also Danish so we have a good group of Danes here which is nice."
Cort's tenure at Astana has got off to a strong start with a string of top 10 finishes only ended by a particularly challenging day two at the Tour of Oman. He made his debut in the sky blue of Astana at the Dubai Tour last week, where he ended the week second overall behind Elia Viviani. He also came close to a stage win on the opening day and the brutal climb up the Hatta Dam. His run of form is all the more surprising after he broke his collarbone in a training accident in December.
"Of course it's not optimal. It's better to break it in December than in January or February, but when you are in it then it's not what you want," he said. "We kept the same programme and it was always the plan to start in Dubai. I didn't expect to be in this great shape but the training has been going really well, especially as we had a two-week training camp in January.
"I was going really well and then I came home for a three-day block and extended it to get the load in and then I had a couple of easy days before coming to Dubai and now it's pretty much race and rest and race and rest."
It was the second time in 2017 that Cort had broken a collarbone after doing the same at the Tour de Yorkshire in April. It was a different collarbone on each occasion, breaking his right in April and his left in December.
"It was a different one. I am balanced now. I have the same plate in each collarbone," he joked.
After a few close calls, Cort is determined to get his first win in the colours of Astana. Stages 3 and 6 are Cort's best opportunities in the coming days before he heads back to Europe for Paris-Nice followed by the Classics.
"I'm hoping to get some wins of course. I've been close already but it's not been easy because I've raced a programme with a lot of WorldTour races. I think it is almost all WorldTour races. It is hard but on the other hand, if I get a win then it is a big win," said Cort.
"I'll be going into Paris-Nice, there are some stages there that are nice. Then I have the cobbled Classics, I don't expect to win there but it will be the first peak of the season and I hope to be part of the finals there from time to time."