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Alexey Lutsenko impresses with maiden Criterium du Dauphine podium – Astana

Alexey Lutsenko impresses with maiden Criterium du Dauphine podium

Alexey Lutsenko battled to successfully defend his podium place at the Criterium du Dauphine on a brutal day in the mountains, finishing second overall to secure his first WorldTour podium this year.

The Kazakh champion and stage four time trial winner finished 17 seconds behind winner Richie Porte while Ion Izagirre, after a brilliant display of teamwork, finished in seventh place, 38 seconds behind.

“I am really happy to be on the podium. To finish second overall and win a stage is a really good result for me so I can be happy. As I said yesterday, there are a lot of big champions here at the race so to be on the podium with two of them; Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas is something special. The team did great work all week and I really have to thank them, especially Ion in the last two days as he helped me a lot to stay on the podium. Today was a really hard stage and it was a big fight until the end so I am really happy that I could stay up there and finish it off today. Now I will rest and recover and then it’s all in for the Tour de France,” said Lutsenko.

Mark Padun took a second consecutive stage win while behind, the General Classification battle played out on the sixth and final climb and descent, where Izagirre and Lutsenko showed their descending skills to gap Porte. After coming back together at the bottom of the descent, the Astana – Premier Tech duo didn’t give up and attacked multiple times on the uncategorized climb to the finish line in Les Gets.

In the end, the group finished together and Lutsenko and Izagirre maintained their GC positions after the mountainous stage, which featured almost 4000 meters of elevation.

Izagirre takes confidence from his performance as he fine tunes his preparation for the Tour de France.

“In the end I think we can be happy with the work done by all of us, really. There are a lot of positives to take away from the race. We won a stage with Lutsenko, we finished other stages with second place and third place with me and Alex. The team worked well and in the end we finished it off with the podium with Lutsenko. So we can leave this race happy and look forward to the Tour,” said Izagirre.

Team Performance Manager echoed Izagirre’s sentiments, praising the team’s work throughout the race which included Aranburu sprinting to four top ten results.

“The team raced really well all week and they can be proud of their performance. We showed we were some of the strongest in the race so we can be happy finishing with a stage win, and first and second on the time trial, and then second overall with Alexey. It was not an easy race, especially these last days. We fought as hard as we could until the end and the team did their maximum. Ion Izagirre showed he is in great form and did amazing work for Alexey, ” added Fofonov.

Race Profile
Criterium du Dauphine
Stage 8: La Léchère-Les-Bains > Les Gets (147km)
Top 3: 1. Mark Padun (Bahrain – Victorious), 2. Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma), 3. Patrick Konrad (BORA – hansgrohe)
Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 7. Alexey Lutsenko, 13. Ion Izagirre, 34. Oscar Rodriguez
Top 3 on GC: 1. Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers), 2. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana – Premier Tech), 3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)
Astana – Premier Tech top 3 on GC: 2. Alexey Lutsenko, 7. Ion Izagirre, 50. Oscar Rodriguez

Photo: Getty Images

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.com

Nizzolo departs the Giro d’Italia with maiden Grand Tour stage victory in hand

Following the completion of stage 14 of the 104th Giro d’Italia finishing atop the Monte Zoncolan, Team Qhubeka ASSOS’ European and Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo has withdrawn from the race.

The 32-year-old won his maiden Grand Tour stage in sensational fashion taking victory in stage 13 in Verona, ending a near decade-long wait for the victory and sparking emotional scenes.

Nizzolo had specifically prepared for the sprint opportunities at the Giro in order to finally achieve his goal of winning a stage. After finishing a tough stage on Monte Zoncolan the decision was taken for him to withdraw, in order for him to rest and recover and then, together with the team, focus on his upcoming goals.

It concludes an excellent race for the Italian after also twice finishing second – on stages two and five – while also wearing the leader’s jersey for the points classification, the maglia ciclamino.

Nizzolo’s win came just two days after that of debutant Mauro Schmid in Montalcino, and in addition to strong individual performances from Victor Campenaerts and Max Walscheid.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Everybody knows how much I love this race, and what it means to me. To finally win a stage here has been a dream come true, and the raw emotion at the finish line in Verona showed that. I will treasure that memory for the rest of my life.

I came into the race in good condition, with fast legs and focus on the flat sprints, but have been struggling on the climbs which has really taken its toll. So we decided it would be best for me to stop, and to recover to look forward to the future.

For our team this has been an incredible Giro d’Italia so far. We speak about the spirit of Ubuntu within our squad – “I am because we are” – and I think it’s evident for everyone to see in the way we are racing just how tight we are as a group and organisation.

My win in Verona wasn’t just a victory for me and those behind the scenes but as importantly it continued to showcase our team’s purpose in riding for something more, for the impact that bicycles can have in changing lives which we are doing everyday together with the Qhubeka Charity.

— Jean Smyth to teamqhubeka.com