Paris-Nice 2016: Alexey Lutsenko solos to stage five win

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Paris-Nice 2016: Alexey Lutsenko solos to stage five win

Michael Matthews holds yellow jersey; Geraint Thomas sixth overall

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) soloed to victory on stage five of Paris-Nice to move up to second overall as Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) held on to the yellow jersey.

The lower slopes of Mont Ventoux featured on the undulating stage, which climbed as far as Chalet Reynard, but the chief GC contenders – Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas among them – were undeterred as a large group remained together over the summit.

Alexey Lutsenko attacked late on to claim stage five victory at Paris-Nice (pic: Sirotti)

Some sprinters, Matthews and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) remained in that group but Lutsenko foiled them all with a late attack, catching and passing what remained of the day’s break to claim stage victory.

His gap was closed sufficiently in the final few kilometres to just deny him the race lead, however, ahead of what should be a pivotal summit finish atop La Madone.

Eight riders formed the day’s break, with Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) complicating matters thanks to his high GC placing at the start of the day.

Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-QuickStep), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Lars Boom (Astana), Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie), Wout Wippert (Cannondale) and Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) were also up the road.

The climbing proved too much for many, however, with the Col de la Madeleine followed in close succession by the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux up to Chalet-Reynard.

Brandle was dropped from the break early on the second climb, while the peloton saw the sprinters quickly lose contact at the back, and polka dot jersey holder Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) also in trouble.

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), one of the sprinters dropped, abandoned the race, while Herrada- who led the way over the summit, Courteille and Duchesne had a gap at the front as they crested the climb.

Boom and Vandenbergh were reunited on the descent, with Sky leading the way behind, though Theuns was eventually swallowed back up by the bunch.

Race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) remained in the peloton, meanwhile, prompting Orica-GreenEDGE to take over the pace-setting duties.

Frank Schleck (Trek-Segafredo) and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) were in a group to go down in crash at the back of the peloton, with the Luxembourg rider abandoning not long afterwards.

The peloton was split in two on the Cote de la Roque d’Antheron, while up the road Duchesne was the lone leader at the summit.

He still led solo on the Col de Seze, where Simon Yates came forward in the bunch, before Lutsenko launched his counter-attack.

He caught Duchesne, and road with the Canadian before he was left alone up the road and – for several kilometres – boasted a lead sufficient to pull on the yellow jersey.

Katusha and Orica-GreenEDGE were among those to close the gap, but it wasn’t enough to stop Lutsenko claiming the stage.

Matthews finished third, claiming valuable bonus seconds of his own in his bid to keep the yellow jersey as long as possible, but it was Lutsenko celebrating on the day.

Paris-Nice 2016: stage five – result

1) Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) – Astana – 5.00.26hrs
2) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha +21”
3) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE – ST
4) Davide Cimolai (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
5) Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) – LottoNL-Jumbo
6) Pieter Serry (BEL) – Etixx-QuickStep
7) Vincente Reynes (ESP) – IAM Cycling
8) Leonardo Duque (COL) – Delko Marseille Provence KTM
9) Oliver Naeson (BEL) – IAM Cycling
10) Arnold Jeannesson (FRA) – Cofidis

General classification

1) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE – 19.24.58hrs
2) Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) – Astana +6”
3) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Alpecin +18”
4) Patrick Bevin (NZL) – Cannondale +23”
5) Ion Izagirre (ESP) – Movistar – ST
6) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky
7) Lieuwe Westra (NED) – Astana +28”
8) Dries Devenyns (BEL) – IAM Cycling +29”
9) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkoff +31”
10) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing – ST


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