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Laporte overhauls Sheffield to win Tour of Denmark

Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) won the finale stage 5 and the overall title at the Tour of Denmark. The Frenchman stormed to the victory on the steep uphill slopes of the final ascent to take the stage win ahead of overnight leader Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) and Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Trek-Segafredo) in Vejle.

It was all-or-nothing for Laporte who went into the stage tied on time with Sheffield in the overall classification. His stage victory secured him a 10-second time bonus and the overall title at the Tour of Denmark, overhauling Sheffield by four seconds, while Skjelmose Jensen finished third at nine seconds back.

"This was a great day for us," said Laporte. "Olav [Kooij] was in the front and that was perfect. After the chase I was left in a good position. The team was fantastic. There was a steep climb before the finish, but I was confident I could win. I will enjoy this now and tomorrow we will go for it again in Hamburg."

How it unfolded

The fifth and final stage of the Tour of Denmark offered a 126.6km route from Give to Vejle with four climbs; Østengaard (44km), Chr. Winthersvej (49.5km), Holtum Mølle (58.5km), Gl. Kongevej & Chr. Winthersvej (72.8km), along with intermediate sprints before contesting four finishing circuits in Vejle. Time bonus sprints were up for grabs at Jerlev (29km) and in Vejle (75km).

Magnus Sheffield (Ineos-Grenadiers), who led the race since winning the stage 2 time trial, went into the day with the same time as runner-up Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), three seconds ahead of Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Trek-Segafredo) and 15 seconds ahead of is Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas. 

Runner-up in the points classification Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) took the full sprint points in Jerlev, moving just ahead of overnight points classification leader Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck). 

A breakaway of eight riders emerged in the opening hour of racing that included Kooij along with Nickolas Zukowsky (Human Powered Health), Jens Keukeleire (EF Education-EasyPost), Mathias Bregnhøj (Riwal Cycling Team), Mads Andersen (Team ColoQuick), Otto Vergaerde (Trek-Segafredo), Tim Declercq (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), and Anders Foldager (Biesse-Carrera).

Foldager took his opportunity over the top of the Østengaard (1.4km à 5.3%),  Chr. Winthersvej (0.4km à 12.7%) and Holtum Mølle (1.1km à 2.8%) ascents to pick up the full mountain points, but he was not in contention to take the jersey from leader Rasmus Bøgh Wallin (Restaurant Suri - Carl Ras) who had 64 points. 

It was Bregnhøj who led the breakaway over the steeper Gl. Kongevej & Chr. Winthersvej (0.6km à 11.4%) ascent and through the intermediate sprint in Vejle with 75.8km to go, with the gap to the break dropping to 38 seconds.

Bregnhøj made one last attack as his breakaway companions gave into the chase from the peloton behind. He was the last survivor of the day's breakaway but was also swept up by the main field led by Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) inside 15km to go.

The peloton, dwindled to just 45 riders, as Ineos Grenadiers led the field at high speeds to protect Sheffield's lead and to prevent Laporte from gaining any time in the closing kilometres.

It was a battle between Ineos and Jumbo into the last ascent with Ineos trying to keep the race together in what appeared to be setting up Sheffield for the stage win. Ineos led the race into the bottom of the ascent, but Sheffield initially appeared to struggle on the steeper slopes.

Team DSM's Soren Kragh Andersen attacked bringing with him Alexander Kamp (Trek-Segafredo) and Laporte, as Sheffield dragged himself back up to the leaders on the road in the final few hundred metres. 

Sheffield then launched his own attack in a bid to take the stage win and protect his lead but Laporte stormed passed him to claim the stage glory, the 10-second time bonus, and the overall title at the Tour of Denmark.

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