Vuelta a Espana 2017: Alexey Lutsenko wins stage five as Chris Froome extends lead

Breakaway succeeds, while first summit finish of this year's race shakes up GC

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) won stage five of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana as the breakaway succeeded on the first summit finish of this year’s race and red jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky) extended his overall lead.

Lutsenko was the last surviving member of the day’s breakaway, soloing to victory on the uphill finish after attacking Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) with three kilometres left on the climb.

Froome, meanwhile, called for serious pace when the peloton hit the ascent, and when his final domestique, Gianni Moscon, peeled off, the red jersey’s acceleration split the GC group.

Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) was the only other rider in the top-ten before the stage to finish with Froome, who now leads by ten seconds overall from Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).

Alexey Lutsenko won stage five of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana (Pic: Sirotti)

The lumpy stage tempted plenty of riders into the day’s breakaway, including Aqua Blue Sport’s Michael Kreder, Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep Floors), polka-dot jersey Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Jetse Bol (Manzana Postobon) – the latter having started the day within five minutes of red jersey Froome.

Villella set about racking up climbing points, but the pace was high in both the bunch and break with more than 43km covered in the first hour.

Team Sky set the pace in the peloton, and the gap was 4’40” over the top of the penultimate climb of the day when the breakaway started to split up.

Marco Haller (Katusha) accelerated on the descent, and Lutsenko went with him – Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates) also followed but was soon dropped.

Four chasers behind them became two – Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data) – as they hit the final climb, with the peloton by now having eased off and allowed the gap to rapidly go up.

And on the climb Lutsenko bolted clear of Haller with three kilometres to ride and, still seated, managed to open up a big gap on Haller.

Despite the punishing gradients, the Kazakh rider stayed in the saddle and powered on up the climb, with Haller unable to match him.

Behind him, Kudus also accelerated, and Lutsenko’s gap came down quickly initially, but the Astana rider had enough daylight to hold on and claim victory in Alcossebre.

Kudus held on for second place, before attention turned back to the GC group where Chris Froome was calling for a furious pace on the front from team-mate Gianni Moscon.

Chris Froome is now ten seconds clear overall (Pic: Sirotti)

When Moscon peeled off, Froome accelerated and the effort was sufficient to shake off several rivals – Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and second-placed David de la Cruz (QuickStep Floors) among them.

Van Garderen did track the move but he too was dropped in the final kilometre as Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) led home Froome, Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) and Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) with a gap on all their GC rivals.

Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) finished 11 seconds behind the Froome group to stay eighth overall, while brother Simon lost a further ten seconds but is up to ninth.

Vuelta a Espana 2017: stage five – result

1) Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) – Astana – 4.24.58hrs
2) Merhawi Kudus (ERI) – Dimension Data +42”
3) Marc Soler (ESP) – Movistar +56”
4) Matej Mohoric (SVN) – UAE Team Emirates +1.11
5) Alexis Gougeard (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +1.24
6) Marco Haller (AUT) – Katusha-Alpecin +1.37
7) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – QuickStep Floors +1.40
8) Jetse Bol (NED) – Manzana Postobon +2.04
9) Matvey Mamykun (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +2.18
10) Jeremy Maison (FRA) – FDJ +2.31

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 18.07.10hrs
2) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +10”
3) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott +11”
4) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – BMC Racing +13”
5) David de la Cruz (ESP) – QuickStep Floors +23”
6) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +36”
7) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +49”
8) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +50”
9) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +1.09
10) Michael Woods (CAN) – Cannondale-Drapac +1.13

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