Tour of Oman. Stage 3. Two in a row for Lutsenko after strong teamwork
ASTANA. KAZINFORM Alexey Lutsenko was again on top of things and profited from his preseason shape, winning another stage at the Tour of Oman today, making it two in a row for the Kazakh champion.
After - what in the finale turned out to be a hectic day - Lutsenko is now the new race leader and official wearer of the points jersey as well. His team was able to keep him out of trouble, as the peloton split multiple times because of echelons. In the final, Lutsenko was well placed by his teammates for the uphill finish and he took off from a selected group with 500 meters to go. He finished just in front of Jesus Herrada and Greg van Avermaet with a gap of 1 second, making it the 8th victory in 8 days for Astana Pro Team.
"Today I really have to thank my teammates for all their hard work, all the time they kept me out of trouble during the echelons and they put me in the perfect position at the start of the final climb. The final 50 km it turned out to be hard and hectic, but I'm thrilled I managed to win another time. I'm feeling very strong after the training camp on Tenerife with the team, so I want to thank all my trainers that pushed me during this camp. It's a great period for our team, with so many great results in a short time, I'm proud to ride for this team and want to thank all of our sponsors for making this possible. Of course, I hope I can win the overall race again, but there are still many hard days to come," said Alexey Lutsenko.
"It was a very good day for us. Another victory for Alexey Lutsenko, who has very strong legs at the moment. The team worked really hard during the training camps in the winter, resulting in many outstanding results in a very short period of time. We're delighted to see Alexey's still making progress every season, for sure there is still a lot to come for him and the team. Today was a good example of the strength of our team, as everyone kept their heads cool during hectic moments and did the right things. It's a great victory and, of course, we will try to defend the first position in the GC of Alexey," said sports director Dmitriy Fofonov.
The 192.5-kilometer-long stage from Shati Al Qurum to Qurayyat turned out to be harder than it looked on the profile, caused by strong crosswinds during the day. A group of ten riders made it into the day's breakaway, and it was the team of race leader Alexander Kristoff who took control over the peloton. With the race heading into the final 50 kilometers, passing the finish line for a first time with 40 km to go, the peloton split for a first time because of crosswinds, Astana Pro Team's official website reads.
After the first passage of the finish line and the uphill final of the stage, everything came back together but was split again shortly after. In both occasions, Alexey Lutsenko managed to stay out of trouble with the help of his teammates. A group of 30 riders started at the bottom of the final climb to the finish line, and it was Alexey Lutsenko who was able to stay in the first group during this uphill finish. In the final 500 meters, he took off from a selected group of riders, making it two in a row at the Tour of Oman, and the 8th victory in 8 days for Astana Pro Team.