Magnus Cort Nielsen victorious in thrilling finale to stage 2 of Criterium du Dauphine 2024; Primoz Roglic takes second

The brilliant Bruno Armirail has had his heartbroken in a thrilling finale to stage 2 at the Criterium du Dauphine as Frenchman's breakaway escapades were ended with just 200m to go as Magnus Cort Nielsen took the win.

Five men got themselves into the day's breakaway. Bruno Armirail (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team), Mathis Le Berre (Arkéa - B&B Hotels), Jonas Gregaard (Lotto Dstny), Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin - Deceuninck) and Filippo Conca (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) being the men up the road.

BORA - hansgrohe were doing much of the riding behind, but with 60km to go, the leaders still had a lead of over four minutes. With the pace of the peloton slowly but surely accelerating however, the gap did begin to steadily crumble away and by the time the first of two climbs towards the finish line began at around 25 kilometres to go, the time gap was just 2:23.

Among the early casualties on the climb, Best Young Rider at the recent Giro d'Italia Antonio Tiberi was dropping out the back of the peloton. Also dropped was King of the Mountains leader at the start of the day, Mark Donovan. Mads Pedersen was still fighting hard at the front of the group though, intent on keeping his Maillot Jaune for at least one more day.

At the front meanwhile, Le Berre took maximum points at the top of the penultimate climb, securing himself the polka-dot jersey for tomorrow. The gap back to the peloton however, was now under a minute and closing. With 10.7km to go, Armirail decided the time was right to attempt a solo victory and attacked clear from his breakaway companions.

In the peloton, Aleksandr Vlasov of BORA - hansgrohe was the first GC rider to make a move, quickly dragging back those attackers dropped by Armirail. The acceleration of Vlasov was also seeing the Maillot Jaune of Pedersen begin to slide back in the dwindling group. The gap to Armirail was relatively steady though, with the former wearer of the Maglia Rosa at the 2023 Giro d'Italia still 27 seconds as the Frenchman moved into the final 5km.

With the pace of the 'favourites' group stalling, Armirail was extending his lead over 30 seconds, whilst Mads Pedersen, who had been dropped was simultaneously beginning to drag himself back towards the GC favourites. When Vlasov returned to the front though, with 3km to go and supported this time by Jai Hindley, Pedersen was pushed back out and the time gap to Armirail began to swing back into the favour of the GC men.

As Armirail powered into a misty final kilometre however, he was around 20 seconds clear. Heartbreakingly though, with just 200m to go the Frenchman was done and Uno-X Mobility's Magnus Cort Nielsen powered to the win ahead of Primoz Roglic and Matteo Jorgenson.

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