Cort signs two-year deal with Astana

Magnus Cort Nielsen will join Astana in 2018 after signing a two-year contract with the Kazakh team. Cort has spent the past three seasons at Orica-Scott.

A rapid finisher, Cort won two stages of the 2016 Vuelta a España, including the final leg in Madrid, and also rode regularly in the service of Caleb Ewan at Orica-Scott. The 24-year-old was also part of Orica-Scott's Classics squad in each of his three years at the team, and he will look to progress further on the cobbles at Astana.

"Joining Astana next season is an exciting challenge for me and I hope I will have a chance to show my ability in the big Classic races, and, of course, also help the team in the Grand Tours," Cort said.

The 24-year-old Cort will join a sizeable core of Danish riders at Astana, which features Jakob Fuglsang, Matti Breschel, Jesper Hansen, Truls Korsaeth and Michael Valgren.

"There is already a talented group of Danish riders in the team and I look forward to riding with them and the rest of the guys in 2018," Cort said. "I would like to thank everybody at Orica-Scott, who helped me to develop as a rider over the last three seasons, I have really enjoyed my time there and made some great friends."

Cort has claimed two victories in 2017, winning the Clasica Almeria and a stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February. He placed second behind Alexander Kristoff at the recent RideLondon Classic.

"The combination of endurance and powerful finishing sprint is a recipe of success in the classic races," said Astana manager Alexandre Vinokourov. "Besides, in the last season Magnus Cort proved he is able to win the Grand Tour stages and to support team's leader in his fight for the general classification in the same time."

While Cort's fellow countryman Fuglsang has penned a contract extension with Astana that will keep him at the squad in 2018, Fabio Aru has yet to sign a new deal with the team. Aru placed 5th overall at the Tour de France and is set to ride the upcoming Vuelta.

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