Coalisland cyclist Rafferty making his mark at the Critérium du Dauphiné

Danish cyclist Cort wins second stage as Tyrone rider continues to mix it with the elite

Northern Ireland's Darren Rafferty at the end of the Men's Individual Time Trial Final at West Park in Wolverhampton on day seven of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Picture date: Thursday August 4, 2022.
Darren Rafferty from Coalisland, Co Tyrone sits in 23rd overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné (David Davies/PA)

Danish cyclist Magnus Cort won stage two of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Monday, taking the yellow jersey, as young Irish talent Darren Rafferty proved himself amongst the best.

Following a bunch sprint on stage one, the second stage of the Critérium was one for the climbers. The peloton would tackle 142km across central France, from Gannat to Col de la Loge.

Due to his second-place finish in the opening sprint, Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team) started the day wearing the green jersey. The Carrick-on-Suir man was keeping the jersey warm for Dane Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), who wore yellow as race leader.

A breakaway went clear just five kilometres into the stage, which most notably included Mathis Le Berre (Arkéa - B&B Hotels). Starting the day in fourth on the general classification, Le Berre had yellow in his sights as the quintet’s lead grew to almost five minutes.

This gap was gradually reduced as the race snaked its way through the French countryside, tackling a total of four categorised climbs on its way. Yet, it still remained at over three minutes when the riders passed the 100km mark.

However, as the breakaway began the final ascent of the race, their gap quickly diminished until only French rider Bruno Armirail (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team) remained out front.

He was charged down by race favourites BORA – hansgrohe and, approaching the fog covered finish, would be caught a tantalising 200 metres from the line.

Cort (Uno-X Mobility) came home in first, ahead of Primoz Roglic (BORA – hansgrohe) in second and Matteo Jorgenson (Team Visma | Lease a Bike) in third.

Coalisland climber Darren Rafferty (EF Education – EasyPost) finished safely in the select bunch, crossing the line in 52nd.

The 20-year-old remains strongly in contention for the general classification, having moved into 23rd place overall.