On Tuesday, Magnus Cort will cross the finish in Guilin to end the Tour of Guangxi, bringing the curtain down on 2017 and his career with Orica-Scott. The Dane may be moving to Astana from 2018 but that hadn't stopped him from chasing a farewell victory and final act of gratitude to the team.
With Caleb Ewan feeling the fatigue of a long season, Cort has taken over sprint duties for Orica at the Tour of Guangxi. Third on stage 3 to Nanning, Cort repeated the result on stage 5 into Guilin with only Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) getting the better of hm.
"With three kilometres to go I was sitting on the left hand side and was blocked and couldn't get back to [my teammates]," Cort explained to Cyclingnews after crossing the line. "I surfed a bit myself and I had Gaviria, who was following as well, to go for. I followed them and I got a good wheel but unfortunately I didn't have the speed to go for the win.
"I think there are some good guys that I am up against. I am still top three and I am happy for that."
On paper a straight forward finish, the flat and straight finale in the open roads of Guilin was complicated by a swirling wind after the riders endured a headwind for the majority of the 212-kilometre day.
"We had headwind all day and some wind in the finish as well," Cort explained.
The three categorised climbs in the tail end of the stage also ensured a tough day in muggy and hazy conditions. It was made harder still when Movistar executed a team attack on the final climb and forced a selection that briefly saw a battle between the GC riders. Caught up in the move, Cort explained that he had the work of LottoNL-Jumbo to thank for pulling him back into contention and being able to contest the win.
"I was just off the back and I was coming back on the descent but there was a crash. That caught me out from the front group but I moved to the second group and Lotto Jumbo was riding hard to get Groenewegen back," he explained.
A stage winner in February at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Cort has carried his form into October, and will now have one final shot at victory in Orica-Scott colours Tuesday afternoon again in Guilin, where he is motivated to turn his podium placings into a victory.
"I think I am finishing really well. I have been two times in the top three now and yesterday’s climbing stage was a good stage for me personally," he said of his 15th place finish. "I can be happy, but, of course, you always want to win. We will give it a try again tomorrow as well."
On Tuesday, Jens Keukeleire will also say farewell to Orica-Scott in the final Guangxi stage, added motivation for a result should the team needed any extra incentive to chase the victory.