After wins on the Tour de France, the Spanish La Vuelta and Paris-Nice, Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana Pro Team) comes to the Amgen Tour of California (May 12-18) to extend his hunting grounds.
Magnus Cort Nielsen is more than a sprinter. The Danish champ states it himself and his record backs his claims: he did dominate two bunch sprints in Spain to establish himself as a Grand Tour stage winner, in 2016, but it’s through ambitious long-range efforts that he added victories on the highest-profile races like the Tour de France last year or Paris-Nice this Spring. He is anyway keen on shining in every demanding race. And he’s now coming to California to demonstrate his wide range of abilities. Brace yourselves for some raw power with one of the main talents from the ranks of the ever-winning team Astana !
“I’m excited about this experience”, Magnus Cort Nielsen says ahead of his first participation in the Amgen Tour of California (May 12-18). “I’ve been racing a couple times in Canada but I’ve never been in the US before. I’m always excited about discovering a new country!”
The 26 year-old Danish rider, who’s moved to the North of Spain, does have an idea on what to expect from the only American World Tour stage race: “It’s a very good race to tune your form. Other years, I’ve done the Tour of Yorkshire or other races but I’ve always thought it would be nice to do California. From what I hear, it’s a nice race.” What about the grounds he’ll find along the West Coast? “I like big roads”, he laughs.
There’s little doubt the big Californian roads perfectly suit Cort Nielsen’s abilities. And the uphill challenges thrown at the bunch to try and derail the sprinters' ambitions won’t scare him. “I think I can climb a little bit better than most sprinters, especially when I’m in a good day”, the Dane describes. “I want to win sprint stages on Grand Tours as well as one-day races. For sure, on a day flat as a pancake, I won’t be the number one favorite but on a hard day or later in Grand Tours, I can do it.”
These extended abilities were shaped on a windy Danish island, where the boy born in Bornhlom first got into mountain biking before switching to road racing. “I got really serious about mountain biking in my first year as a junior (17 years old)”, Cort Nielsen recalls. “We did a few races abroad with the National selection. But i got a bit tired of the mountain bike and got much more into road cycling. And I quickly had good results.”
At 18 years old, he was winning the Peace Cup, one of the highest profile race for junior riders. The very next year, he began racing with a Danish team, quickly joined the top level and has accumulated 14 pro wins since then, including five on the World Tour. And now? “I feel I’m getting stronger every year”, he warns.