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Cort breaks Tour de France consecutive mountain win record

CALAIS FRANCE JULY 05 Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark and Team EF Education Easypost competes in the feeding area and connects with the peloton during the 109th Tour de France 2022 Stage 4 a 1715km stage from Dunkerque to Calais TDF2022 WorldTour on July 05 2022 in Calais France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Dane Magnus Cort of EF Education-EasyPost has won 11 of 12 KOM climbs to start this year's Tour (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) has made his mark on the 2022 Tour de France. On Tuesday, in the 171.5km stage from Dunkerque to Calais, Cort added another honour - he broke a record set 64 years ago by Federico Bahamontes for the most consecutive mountain sprint victories at nine.

Cort has made the breakaway on all three consecutive road stages, clocking over 400 kilometres off the front of the peloton over the 569.2 kilometres raced so far and has won the polka dot jersey for those three days.

"It feels really good," Cort said of his time in the mountains jersey. "It was in the plan from the morning to go out and take the five points that I did take. For me it was the perfect day."

After the opening time trial, Cort went on the attack during stage 2 from kilometre zero, escaping with Cyril Barthe and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Sven Erik Bystrøm (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux). They dropped the two Frenchmen on the first climb, and Cort led over the Côte d'Asnæs Indelukke. Inspired, Cort led again on the Côte d'Høve Stræde, the Côte de Kårup Strandbake. Knowing he would wear the polka dot jersey, he raised his arms in celebration amid the cheers of massive numbers of fans along the roads of his home country.

After the intermediate sprint, Cort sat up, completing over 140 kilometres off the front. Then, on stage 3, Cort again launched from the drop of the flag and this time was on his own as the peloton let him have his day in the sun before they chased him down for the bunch sprint.

Cort claimed the Côte de Koldingvej, Côte de Hejlsminde and Côte de Genner Strand and spent another 129 kilometres away. After the transfer day from Denmark to northern France, the Dane went on the attack again, this time with Anthony Perez (Cofidis) for company.

The Frenchman gave little resistance on the Côte de Cassel, and on the Côte de Remilly-Wirquin Cort broke the record with eight consecutive KOM victories. He added to his tally on the Côte de Nielles-lès-Bléquin, Côte de Harlettes and Côte du Ventus to extend the record to 11 straight climbs.

All of the climbs were of the lowest class, category 4, and each was only worth one point, but have secured the mountains classification lead for Cort for at least two more stages. Wednesday's stage 5 from Lille to Arenberg has no climbs as the race heads across flat ground - although it will include some of the cobbles used in Paris-Roubaix. There are three climbs on stage 6 from Binche to Longwy - two category 3 (two points and one point for the first two places) and one category 4 for a total of only five available points.

The road tilts uphill again on stage 7 where there are two category 3 ascents before the first summit showdown on La Super Planche des Belles Filles. The final climb is a category 1, worth 10 points for the winner. With a bit of luck, he'll still be in polka dots on stage 8, another prime opportunity for the breakaway on a hilly stage from Dole to Lausanne with four climbs, two each category 3 and 4.

The first major mountain stage comes on stage 9. After the Swiss start in Aigle, there are four climbs, a category 4, category 2 and two category 1's.

Cort said he wasn't sure how long he could hold the polka dot jersey but vowed to enjoy every day of it.

"Even though I've taken 11 climbs in a row I only have 11 points. I don't even have enough points to defend on a HC climb. At some point when we get into the real mountains and there are a lot more points, unfortunately the jersey will change hands.

"I know I'll have to give it away. I won't be digging my own grave to try and keep it. I'm also hoping for a stage win later on. I spend more energy being in the break these days than I normally would and I have to start to be a little more conservative with my energy.

"Now I have enough points to hold it a few more days. I'll enjoy those days as well. There's a possibility I can hold it for quite a few days but it will depend on who takes the points."

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Laura Weislo

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.