Alexey Lutsenko secures career-best seventh place at Tour de France – Astana

Alexey Lutsenko secures career-best seventh place at Tour de France

Alexey Lutsenko crossed the line on the Champs-Élysées to ride to a career-best seventh place in the General Classification to secure his first top ten result in six Tour de France participations. 

Lutsenko’s impressive performance makes the 2020 Tour de France stage winner the first Kazakh rider to secure a top ten result at the Tour de France since 2005.

“I am really happy and proud to finish in the top ten at the Tour de France. I came into the race after a good Critérium du Dauphiné and wanted to take things day by day to see what I could do. To finish in seventh place is a big achievement for me, especially as a Kazakh rider. I want to thank all of my teammates as they supported me a lot throughout the race and helped me to fight to be in the top ten”, – said Alexey Lutsenko after the finish of Stage 21.

“It was a really hard Tour de France which makes it even more special to finish in the top ten. Of course, it would have been nice to win a stage again, but I can come away from the race happy with my performance and my form and motivated for Tokyo”.

Astana – Premier Tech Managing Director Yana Seel highlighted the importance of Lutsenko’s achievement for the Kazakh – Canadian team.

“It makes me really proud to see Alexey Lutsenko’s name in the top ten of the Tour de France. Proud for Alexey, proud for Astana – Premier Tech and proud for Kazakhstan. Alexey didn’t give up throughout the three weeks and his result really shows his determination in what was a tough race. As a Kazakh – Canadian team, it is really important to support our Kazakh riders and I think Alexey’s result will inspire our young Kazakh riders”, – added Seel. 

The team narrowly missed a stage win on multiple occasions with eight top ten results throughout the three weeks while supporting Lutsenko’s General Classification bid. Team Performance Manager and Sports Director Dmitriy Fofonov praised the riders’ teamwork and aggressive approach to stage hunting. 

“I am really satisfied with the team’s racing here at the Tour de France. We came here with the objective of winning a stage and having someone in the top ten of the General Classification. With Alexey Lutsenko in the top ten, we achieved one of these and we came very close to the other. We saw a super Alexey in the race with great form and motivation, so I am happy to see his hard work pay off. All of the team raced aggressively in the breakaways, and we had Ion Izagirre coming very close to the win on stage 8 and our Spanish Champion Omar Fraile up there on multiple occasions. We had a good spirit in the team and all of the riders did a great job to support Alexey and help him to achieve his GC result. As you can see, many teams are leaving without a stage win, but we can be happy knowing we did our maximum every day and were able to finish with Alexey in seventh place overall”, – said Fofonov.

General Classification: 1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates); 2. Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma); 3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers)… 7. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana – Premier Tech).

Photo credit: @Chris Auld

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.com

Alex Aranburu sprints to a great sixth place on demanding Tour de France stage 13 – Astana

Alex Aranburu sprints to a great sixth place on demanding Tour de France stage 13

After 220 kilometres in the saddle, the race headed towards the finish line in Carcassonne with Alex Aranburu sprinting to a strong sixth place.


The 13th stage of the Tour de France was another long and demanding stage, with almost 220 kilometres on an undulating terrain awaiting the riders. The second part of the stage was marked by cross and tailwinds on narrow roads, which made today’s stage quite nervous.

After a long battle for the daily breakaway, three riders managed to distance themselves but the peloton kept the escapees on a short leash. Astana – Premier Tech was tucked in the bunch, protecting Alex Aranburu to bring him into position for the finale.

As the peloton caught the breakaway, several crashes caused again with favorites leaving the race. Unfortunately, Dmitriy Gruzdev was involved in one of the crashes. Fortunately he was able to finish the stage but suffered some road rash and abrasions.

He will be assessed by our medical team overnight and the decision if he can continue the race will be taken tomorrow.

Meanwhile the sprint teams started to form their lead out with Omar Fraile and Alexey Lutsenko also lining things out for Alex Aranburu. The team delivered the young Basque rider into a good position rolling towards the tricky final part of today’s stage. In a thrilling finale, Aranburu sprinted to a strong sixth place, while Mark Cavendish made history claiming his 34th stage win.

“It was a hard race. We had 220 km and there was a lot of wind and a lot of tension. In the end, because there were echelons, there were attacks. We had to be a bit attentive there. Well, in the end, nothing really happened but we were up there. I had Lutsenko and Omar helping me in the sprint but I lost the wheel and then I tried and came back. But, well, sixth is not bad”, says Alex Aranburu.


Race Profile

Tour de France

Stage 13: Nîmes > Carcassonne (219.9km)

Top 3: 1.Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick Step), 2.Michael Morkov (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix)

Astana – Premier Tech Top 3: 6. Alex Aranburu, 32. Alexey Lutsenko 84. Omar Fraile



— nadine Pfeffer to www.astanapremiertech.com

Alexey Lutsenko takes a strong eighth place on Mont Ventoux stage – Astana

Alexey Lutsenko takes a strong eighth place on Mont Ventoux stage

The epic Mont Ventoux was on today´s menu for the eleventh stage of the Tour de France with Alexey Lutsenko showing his form with an impressive eighth place.

With one ascent of the iconic climb already brutal enough, the peloton faced it twice before descending towards the finish line in Malaucéne after 198.9 kilometres.

It was, as expected, a fight for the daily breakaway as soon as the flag dropped and some kilometres after leaving the start town Sorgues, the favourites for the stage win went on the attack. Astana – Premier Tech had several cards to play but also kept an eye on the overall ranking with Lutsenko.

Jakob Fuglsang was the first rider of the Kazakh – Canadian team to try his luck in an early breakaway but the group got caught ahead of the second climb of the day. After a long battle and countless moves brought back, a group was finally able to open a gap on the peloton.

Lutsenko, Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre stayed in the yellow jersey group, which was some minutes behind the leading group.

Approaching the first ascent of Mont Ventoux, Fuglsang and Izagirre had to let the group go and rode home in their own rhythm, crossing the line around 15 minutes down on eventual stage winner Wout Van Aert.

On the final lap up Mont Ventoux, Lutsenko trailed the solo leader by two minutes but dug deep all the way to the line. The Kazakh rider put in a strong ride, pushing on the descent towards the finish line, which saw him cross the line in a strong eighth place. After this great ride, Lutsenko moved up to seventh place on the General Classification.

It was a brutal stage today. Due to the overall ranking, I tried to stay as long as possible on the wheels of Pogacar, not to lose any time in the GC, and it worked quite well. On the top of Mont Ventoux after the second time, I found myself with Kelderman and the chase was on. I am happy with my 8th place and also that I could move up again one place on the overall ranking. Of course, the Tour is still long with some tricky and tough stages but so far I am satisfied with my performance. – Alexey Lutsenko


Race Profile

Tour de France

Stage 11: Sorgues > Malaucéne (198km)

Top 3: 1.Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo Visma), 2. Kenny Elissonde 3. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)

Astana – Premier Tech Top 3: 8. Alexey Lutsenko, 37 Jakob Fuglsang, 53 Hugo Houle



— nadine Pfeffer to www.astanapremiertech.com

Ion Izagirre sprints to strong second place on demanding Tour de France stage 8 – Astana

Ion Izagirre sprints to strong second place on demanding Tour de France stage 8

Ion Izagirre narrowly missed the stage win on stage eight of the Tour de France, battling until the very end to cross the line in second place from a three-man sprint behind the solo stage winner.

With an uphill start and three category one ascents in the finale, the stage was suited to a breakaway which made for a huge fight at the beginning of the stage. Finally, after countless moves were brought back, Izagirre managed to make it into the breakaway of the day which went on to gain more than five minutes on the peloton.

Multiple riders tried their luck with attacks from the breakaway as torrential rain continued to fall, conditions which suited Basque rider Izagirre. As the breakaway split up, Izagirre dug deep and formed part of a small chase group behind Mike Woods, who was leading the race solo in the final 35 kilometres.

Izagirre attacked from the chase group and was joined by Dylan Teuns in what would be the winning move with the Belgian overtaking Izagirre and catching Woods ahead. Behind, Alexey Lutsenko showed strong form in the reduced General Classification group which remained four minutes behind on the penultimate climb.

“It was a difficult day. I was chasing full gas on the final climb and then Pogacar came from the back too. Today, Teuns showed that he was the strongest guy. I’m sad because I made a big mistake today to take a rain jacket at the top of one of the climbs. I missed the first group and dropped and on the next climb I spent a lot of energy to come back,” said Izagirre.

Izagirre continued to chase behind Teuns and was joined by new race leader Tadej Pogacar at the top of the final climb, with the duo catching Woods on the descent. The trio was unable to catch Teuns but the Basque rider left it all on the road and with 200 metres to go, launched his sprint to secure second place.

“Although I’m disappointed to miss the win today, I’m happy with my form and missing out like this will make me motivated to try again. It was a really hard day with the climbing and the weather so I know I can be happy with my ride today,” added Izagirre.

Lutsenko’s perseverance saw him cross the line in a select GC group four minutes down on Teuns which sees the Kazakh rider move up to an amazing third place on the overall ranking.

Unfortunately, Stefan De Bod crashed in the last 40 kilometres of the race but was fortunate to escape any serious injuries and was able to finish the stage.

Race Profile

Tour de France

Stage 8: Oyonnax > Le Grand-Bornand (150.8km)

Top 3: 1. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious), 2. Ion Izagirre, 3. Mike Woods (Israel Start Up Nation)

Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 2. Ion Izagirre, 11. Alexey Lutsenko, 29. Jakob Fuglsang

Photo: Getty Images

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.com

Une quatrième place frustrante, mais encourageante, pour Arnaud Démare

Enfin. À l’occasion du troisième sprint du Tour de France ce jeudi, Arnaud Démare a enfin pu se mêler à la bagarre pour la victoire d’étape. Tout ne fut pas simple pour autant, puisque ses équipiers ont très tôt dû assumer leurs responsabilités pour neutraliser une échappée très dangereuse, puis l’ancien champion de France a perdu son fidèle poisson-pilote Jacopo Guarnieri à trois kilomètres de l’arrivée. Malgré des circonstances encore imparfaites, le Picard est venu glaner la quatrième place du jour, mais visera évidemment bien plus haut au sortir des Alpes.

« On ne les y reprendra pas », Thierry Bricaud

Entre Tours et Châteauroux, sur à peine 160 kilomètres, la sixième étape du Tour de France aurait pu connaître un scénario lisse, limpide, et une arrivée massive, comme prévu. Certains coureurs et certaines équipes en avaient manifestement décidé autrement. Après moins de cinq kilomètres, ce sont en effet huit coureurs, et pas des moindres, qui ont ouvert une brèche dans le peloton. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Soren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën) ou bien encore Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) et encore Nils Politt (Bora-hansgrohe) prenaient en effet place dans une échappée quatre étoiles et l’Équipe cycliste Groupama-FDJ se retrouvait elle en position très délicate. « Le départ s’est mal passé pour nous, relatait Thierry Bricaud. On a manqué d’un peu de vigilance et une fois l’échappée sortie, on était pratiquement la seule équipe de sprinteur non représentée. On savait que ça pouvait arriver mais on a manqué de concentration. Les gars ne devaient pas s’attendre à ce type de départ. Il y avait d’excellents coureurs devant et on n’a pas tergiversé bien longtemps. On a tout de suite vu et communiqué. Mais le temps que les gars puissent remonter et se mettre en place, l’écart était monté à 40-50 secondes car ils se sont mis tout de suite à bloc devant. Il a très vite fallu rectifier le tir, au risque de ne pas pouvoir offrir un sprint à Arnaud. On a donc assumé et ça a duré trente kilomètres… Même si on a fait une petite boulette en début de course, il faut aussi reconnaître que les gars ont bien réagi derrière, notamment Bruno, Stefan ou Val. C’est le jeu, mais la prochaine fois, on ne les y reprendra pas ».

Au cours des trente premiers kilomètres, l’allure moyenne a franchi les 53 km/h et l’écart un temps monté à la minute, est finalement passé sous les vingt secondes au passage d’Amboise. Quelques minutes plus tard, et grâce à la collaboration de deux autres formations, la jonction a été effectuée et seul Greg Van Avermaet s’est retrouvé en tête de course. Il a un peu plus tard reçu le soutien de Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal) mais la situation était désormais sous contrôle. Arnaud Démare et ses hommes ont alors laissé d’autres formations mener la chasse toute la journée, puis se sont replacés à l’entame de la dernière heure de course dans le sillage de Bruno Armirail ou Valentin Madouas. Un peu plus tard, à l’approche de Châteauroux, c’est Stefan Küng qui a repris la barre pour mettre le train sur les bons rails. « Les forces dépensées en début de course ont pu manquer dans le final, mais l’approche a malgré tout été assez limpide, soutenait Thierry. On savait de toute façon qu’il fallait arriver au dernier moment dans le sprint, mais le fait marquant est qu’on perd Jacopo dans les trois derniers kilomètres. Dès lors, ce n’était plus du tout la même approche ». « Il faut de la réussite aussi dans le vélo, et pour l’instant elle n’est pas en notre faveur, soupirait Arnaud Démare. C’est venu frotter sur notre droite, on s’est accroché avec Jacopo et il est tombé. Il a fallu se réorganiser derrière. Pendant 500 mètres, je me suis demandé : « comment on fait ? ». Miles était encore là, il se retournait, m’encourageait et on s’est remis dans le match. C’était une configuration bizarre mais on s’est bien remobilisés et Miles a fait du bon boulot ».

« J’ai la gagne dans les jambes », Arnaud Démare

Le rouleur australien a tenu jusqu’aux 600 derniers mètres puis l’ancien champion de France a tenté de se frayer un chemin jusqu’à la ligne. Il n’a néanmoins pu combler la dizaine de mètres qui le séparait de Mark Cavendish au lancement du sprint. « C’est dommage qu’on arrive pas à choper le train d’Alpecin, regrettait simplement Arnaud, car sur la vitesse, je n’étais pas trop mal. Il y avait moyen de jouer. Je me sentais rapide et il y avait possibilité de mieux faire ». Sur la ligne, après avoir contourné Peter Sagan et Cees Bol notamment, le Picard a toutefois dû se contenter de la quatrième place. « Le côté frustrant est de voir qu’il y avait moyen de faire beaucoup mieux, confirmait Thierry. Il faut que tout soit bien aligné au bon moment. Il ne faut pas oublier qu’il était par terre il y a trois jours. Il avait besoin de reprendre de l’assurance et c’est ce qui s’est passé aujourd’hui. On sait, et lui sait aussi, qu’il est de retour ». « J’ai la gagne dans les jambes, assurait Arnaud. Je n’ai pas pu jouer le premier sprint, j’étais un peu perturbé sur le second, mais là c’est bon, j’y crois. Il va juste falloir attendre une semaine. Si je suis mis dans les bonnes dispositions sur le prochain, il y a clairement moyen… » Avant de retrouver une potentielle arrivée massive, quelques reliefs vont désormais se présenter sur la route des coureurs. Cela commencera dès vendredi en direction du Creusot. « Ce ne sera en aucune façon une étape de transition, prévient Thierry. Déjà, il y a 250 bornes, ce qui n’est pas rien. Ensuite, la deuxième partie est très difficile et les coureurs seront toujours en prise sur des petites routes. Qu’il y ait échappée ou pas, il peut y avoir du mouvement pour le général. Il faudra rester concentrés ».

— Alexandre to www.equipecycliste-groupama-fdj.fr

Pierre Latour placé au général après le chrono

Pierre Latour placé au général après le chrono

C’est la belle opération de la journée. Grâce à son très bon chrono, Pierre Latour remonte au sixième rang du classement général. Retour sur ce premier contre-la-montre.

Dans les temps

Il y a eu du spectacle sur le premier contre-la-montre de cette 108e édition. Tadej Pogacar a littéralement écrasé la concurrence entre Changé et Laval. En remportant cette étape, le vainqueur sortant du Tour envoie un message fort à ses concurrents directs. Surpuissant sur les 27,2km du parcours, le slovène a bien failli subtiliser le Maillot Jaune à Mathieu Van Der Poel. Mais le petit-fils de Raymond Poulidor a de la ressource. Il s’est battu corps et âme pour conserver sa tunique. Grâce à ses 8 secondes d’avance à l’arrivée, il prolonge un peu plus sa belle aventure en jaune sur ce Tour de France.

Pierre Latour, leader du Team TotalEnergies a réalisé un excellent chrono bouclant l’épreuve en 33’14”. Cette performance lui permet de conforter sa place dans le top10 et mieux encore ! Il gagne 3 places et remonte au 6e rang.

La planète vélo a pu observer la bonne forme de Pierre Latour depuis le début de ce Tour de France. Cependant, le drômois ne s’enflamme pas et compte bien vivre son Tour pleinement en ayant aucun regret.

Pierre Latour : “Saisir les opportunité”

“C’est un plaisir de retrouver des sensations sur un chrono en World Tour. Cela faisait longtemps que je n’avais pas réussi à me sentir bien tout au long d’un chrono. Si on m’avait dit ça au début du Tour, je ne l’aurais pas trop cru. Mais comme on dit depuis le début du Tour, on va prendre les étapes comme elles viennent. Si ça se passe bien tant mieux. Il faudra surtout saisir les opportunités quand elles se présenteront”

Rendez-vous demain pour la sixième étape.


— Administrateur to teamtotalenergies.com

Matthews kick starts the Tour de France by storming to a stunning second place – Team BikeExchange

Australian rider Michael Matthews got Team BikeExchange off to a stunning start, storming to a stellar second place on the explosive uphill finish to today’s opening stage of the 2021 Tour de France in Landernaeu.

World champion Julian Alaphilippe stole the show, launching a damaging attack with 2.5km remaining on the steep uphill slopes. With a long way still to go, Matthews and the other race favourites stalled for a second, which proved to be enough for Alaphilippe to open up a gap and ultimately hold on until the finish line by eight seconds.

The 197km day was filled with drama with two huge crashes effecting the rhythm of the race. Multiple Team BikeExchange riders were caught out including Matthews, who came down in the first touchdown, but thankfully was uninjured and with the help of his teammates was able to get back into contention ahead of the final.

The 30-year-old rider now sits in second place on the general classification after picking up bonus seconds on the line, with the result boosting the team’s confidence in Matthews’ form despite a bittersweet feeling having the stage victory and Maillot Jaune within reach.

Michael Matthews – 2nd place:
“The goal was to win today, but there was just one guy stronger than me. I guess I have sort of mixed feelings, obviously you want to win, but it’s also nice to start the Tour de France already with a podium position. I think it sets the tone for us as a team going forward for these three weeks.
He (Alaphilippe) always does this (attacking early) and it’s the best way for him to win the race, so his attack wasn’t unexpected that’s for sure.
It was a tense day, and I went down in the first crash. It was a stupid sort of crash, one of those ones where it was starting to get nervous in the peloton and getting fast towards the finish and someone touches the wheel and I think 80 guys went down.
Tomorrow I think the final climb is actually harder, but better for me. We can only take confidence from today’s performance.”

Matt White (Sport Director):
“It’s been a bittersweet day. Second place was a solid start for us, but we have some injured riders and fingers crossed we are starting with a full team in the morning.

Michael played the final well, he knows his ability on a climb like that. Alaphilippe certainly showed he was the best today. But Michael has shown his form is in a good place so tomorrow is another day which suits the same riders, so we are looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge.”

2021 Tour de France – Stage 1 Results:
1. Julian Alaphilippe 4:39:05
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:08
3. Primoz Roglic +0:08

General Classification after stage 1:
1. Julian Alaphilippe 4:39:55
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:12
3. Primoz Roglic +0:14

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Brown digs deep for fifth place in thrilling La Course finale – Team BikeExchange

Vuleta a Burgos stage winner Grace Brown dug deep as she sprinted to fifth place in a relentless and thrilling edition of La Course by le Tour de France.

The punishing 107km race burst into life inside the final 40km as Spanish climber Ane Santesteban made it into a strong 13-rider group on the Cote de la Fosse aux Loups climb.

The peloton eventually reacted to the move on the following ascent of the climb as a reduced bunch bridged across to the attackers on the lower slopes. A fresh attack was then launched over the top, with Brown quick to react as she followed the wheels to make up part of a 12-rider escape group.

As the bell rang out of the last lap the group held an advantage of 45 seconds, but with no cooperation amongst the leaders the gap soon began to fall. The catch was eventually made with 4km to go as Team BikeExchange moved to the front with Australian champion Sarah Roy leading into the foot of the final climb.

Attacks were launched immediately with Brown once again amongst a select group to edge off the front of the pack. Several riders then attempted to go solo in the closing metres, but the day ultimately came down to a nervous and cagey sprint for the line with Brown fighting to fifth place behind winner Demi Vollering.

Grace Brown:
“It was an exciting race, right from the start the pace was super high in the peloton. We had Ane in a break when we first hit the circuit and then I followed another move which stayed away until the final ascent to the finish line.

Roy gave us a great lead out, but I probably made a mistake trying to follow an attack by Tiff Cromwell at the start of the climb. In the end I didn’t quite have the kick I needed to contest the sprint.”

Alejandro González-Tablas (Sports Director):
“It was a pretty good day, the girls rode really well as a team and they all had their opportunity to be in breakaways and we had Ane there covering an important moves as we came onto the local laps.

The Grace made it into another break and she tried to play it a little bit cool knowing the group was coming from behind. In the end she was just missing the legs a little bit after make some efforts that we could have avoided.

But in the end it went to plan and we achieved the goals that we set for this race, so we are happy and full of confidence going into the Giro.”

2021 La Course – Results:
1. Demi Vollering 2:59:29
2. Cecillie Uttrup Ludwig ST
3. Marianne Vos ST
5. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) ST

Photo Courtesy of Getty Sport.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Gino Mäder takes 3rd place at ITT Stage 7 of Tour de Suisse

Gino Mäder placed third on the 23.3 km long ITT stage 7 over the Oberalp Pass. The course was split into two parts, starting with a challenging climb to the Pass, followed by a fast descent to Andermatt with riders reaching speeds over 100km/h. 

Riders were faced with a decision to use their road bikes, TT bikes or a combination of the two. Mäder stuck with his TT bike throughout and proved to be third fastest on the day behind Rigoberto Uran (Education First Nippo)  and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 7th stage Disentis Sedrun – Andermatt 23,2 km – 12/06/2021 – Gino Mader (SUI – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Heinz Zwicky/BettiniPhoto©2021

Gino Mäder was glad to take a podium finish in his homeland: “Finally, I was able to show what I wanted to show in my home race. It was nice to have legs again. I missed them after stage 3; luckily, they’re back for these final days. I think it’s so good to take a podium position. I really enjoyed the race. It was super hard with the climb at the beginning and then a fast and furious downhill. I’m glad we could deliver a solid performance again today, which makes us hungry for tomorrow. Maybe the legs won’t be so fresh, but obviously, the mind will be so and also motivated. We hope for an excellent finish in this race.”

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 7th stage Disentis Sedrun – Andermatt 23,2 km – 12/06/2021 – Wouter Poels (NED – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Sabine Zwicky/BettiniPhoto©2021

Wout Poels was the fastest on the downhill, and at the finish, he was just out of the top ten at 11th place: “It was not a bad time trial at all. So, I’m happy with the result and also with the fact that I had a faster downhill. In the end, of course, the time at the finish counts, so I think it was a good performance for me and Gino, who did an amazing job. So, I think we can be happy with the day. There is one more day to go, so let’s see what we have left in the tank for tomorrow and make a good and nice day of it and finish this week with a bang and hopefully another good result”.

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com

Oscar Rodriguez takes solid second place atop Mont Ventoux – Astana

Oscar Rodriguez takes solid second place atop Mont Ventoux

Oscar Rodriguez showed pure climber class at the one-day race Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, taking a solid second podium place on the top of the legendary Giant of Provence Mont Ventoux.

The rider of Astana – Premier Tech launched a strong counterattack from a small group of chasers with some seven kilometers to go, trying to follow the attack of the Spaniard Miguel Angel Lopez, who stayed solo at the front and at the end of the day took the win in this race.

With four kilometers to the top Enric Mas joined Astana – Premier Tech rider in his chase, but on the finish line Oscar Rodriguez was just stronger, taking a very nice second place, 2 minutes 26 seconds behind the race winner.

“I think I can be happy with my performance today as I did my best in this race and to be on the podium next to Miguel Angel Lopez is a big achievement for me. He is a great champion and right now he is staying in a big form ahead of the Tour de France. So, to be second behind him – is a good result. The team worked good for me today and on the climb I just tried to be close to other favorites. In a moment I went away alone, and I think it was a good move. Later Enric Mas caught me, but I still had some energy to attack inside the last kilometer and to take the second place. I know that Gleb Brussenskiy crashed during the race and now he is in the hospital for medical check-up. I wish Gleb a speedy recovery and hope to see him in our next race La Route d’Occitanie”, – said Oscar Rodriguez.

The race, last year won by Aleksandr Vlasov, took start in Vaison-la-Romaine and shortly after it a few riders created the daily breakaway. However, the peloton did not give the escapers too much space and at the bottom of the final ascent to Mont Ventoux the break has been completely neutralized.

Inside the final 15 kilometers of the race there was just a small group of favourites with Oscar Rodriguez and Merhawi Kudus among them representing the Kazakh-Canadian team. It was Miguel Angel Lopez, who attacked with some 12 kilometers to go quickly opening a big gap, enough to take the race win.

While Merhawi Kudus was forced to drop out from the chasing group, taking his own pace, Oscar Rodriguez proved to be one of the most active riders behind the solo leader, working in front of the chasing group and following the attacks of the rivals. With seven kilometers to go Rodriguez found a moment for a strong counterattack, which brought him the podium on such a famous climb as Mont Ventoux.

Gleb Brussenskiy was involved in a crash on the descent. It seems that the rider did not get any serious injury, however, after the race he has been moved to the hospital for medical check-up. Th team will communicate on rider’s state of health as soon as possible.

“We started this race with two leaders, Merhawi Kudus and Oscar Rodriguez. While for Merhawi it was the first race after a long break, Oscar already did the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he showed himself in a really good form. So, we were expecting something good from him today. We knew the race and knew the climb really well as last year Aleksandr Vlasov brought us a beautiful victory here, so we were aiming to fight for another high result. Indeed, Miguel Angel Lopez was the biggest favourite after Dauphiné, so our plan was to follow his attacks and to try to stay as close to him as possible. The team did a good job for both our leaders on the first lap and during the first ascent to Mont Ventoux, while in the final Oscar showed really good legs staying with the best riders and attacking in a right moment. Of course, we would prefer to win today, but Lopez was just the strongest. However, we are very happy with such a strong performance of Oscar Rodriguez and this podium place give us some additional motivation ahead of La Route d’Occitanie”, – said Dmitriy Fofonov.

Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, Vaison-la-Romaine – Mont Ventoux, 153 km.

Top-3: 1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team); 2. Oscar Rodriguez (Astana – Premier Tech); 3. Enric Mas (Movistar Team).

Photo credit: @Getty Images

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com