Lutsenko takes a solo win in stage 5 of Paris-Nice

It was a day for the opportunists, and Alexey Lutsenko made the most of it, beating some of the top sprinters at Paris-Nice with a bold solo win in stage 5. With a trip halfway up Mont Ventoux, Friday was in some ways a climber’s day, but the long run to the finish looked perfect for a sprinter like race leader Michael Matthews. However, his Orica – GreenEdge team and Katusha, left the chase too late, and the Astana escapee claimed his first victory of 2016.

Lutsenko, a former U23 world champion and current Kazakhstan time trial champion, made his move after the Col de Séze, and ran down the last rider of the early breakaway, Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) with 17km to go.

“I think I used a bit too much energy staying at the front the whole day,” Matthews said, explaining why Orica-GreenEdge wasn’t contributing much to the chase. “Congrats to the Astana rider – that was a really strong ride. He was too far away and I used all my teammates to put me in the best position earlier but we had no riders to bring him back, so we sat back and let the other teams come forward, Katusha came to chase but they didn’t have the legs to bring him back either.”

His time gains and the 10 bonus seconds mean that Lutsenko moves into second in the overall standings and he is now just 6 seconds behind Matthews who picked up four bonus seconds at the finish. The race leader faces a much harder test tomorrow which is the day of the queen stage. The riders will tackle a total of five category 2 climbs and one category 1 climb on a day full of ups and downs before they get to the bottom of the final climb of La Madone d’Utelle. It averages 5.7% over 15.3km but has a pretty easy second half.

Paris-Nice 2016 – stage 5 results (Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Salon-de-Provence):

1 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana)


2 Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)


3 Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEDGE)


4 Davide Cimolai (Lampre – Merida)


5 Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo)


6 Pieter Serry (Etixx – QuickStep)


7 Vicente Reynes (IAM)


8 Leonardo Duque (Delko Marseille)


9 Oliver Naesen (IAM)


10 Arnold Jeannesson (Cofidis)  ,,


General classification after stage 5:

1 Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEDGE)


2 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana)


3 Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)


4 Patrick Bevin (Cannondale)


5 Jon Izaguirre (Movistar)


6 Geraint Thomas (Sky)


7 Lieuwe Westra (Astana)


8 Dries Devenyns (IAM)


9 Rafal Majka (Tinkoff)


10 Richie Porte (BMC)