UAE Tour Stage 5: Alexey Lutsenko shows strength with solo attack on Jebel Jais climb
Kazakh champion Alexey Lutsenko put in a strong performance on today’s last mountain stage of the UAE Tour with a powerful solo attack with 15 kilometres to go on the summit finish, giving his all in an attempt to win this stage.
Lutsenko dug deep in his battle against the group of General Classification favourites, but at the end of the day was caught with just 250 metres to go to narrowly miss his first win of the season.
The Dane Jonas Vingegaard took the stage win after a late counterattack within the last 500 metres, while the current GC leader Tadej Pogačar finished second, followed by the Britton Adam Yates. After being caught, Lutsenko finished in 11th place.
Lutsenko’s attack came from the day’s breakaway which saw nine riders go clear from the main peloton to create a strong group of leaders, who opened up a three-minute gap. At the bottom of the final climb Jebel Jais, Lutsenko’s breakaway maintained an advantage of two minutes and with the stage win in mind, Lutsenko tried his luck with a solo move.
“On the final climb I just gave my all. I started the climb with a good rhythm, and later just tried to keep on pushing as hard as possible. I missed just a little, and, of course, I am disappointed a bit because the win was so close. But at the same time, I feel happy because my form is getting better and better. It was my main goal here – to test my form and to feel the racing rhythm after a long racing break. After this stage I feel really good. The stage was a hard one and from the start my teammates tried to break away, but it did not work as the pace in the group was really high. Somewhere after 70 kilometres of racing, seven riders broke away and I realised it was the right move, so I followed them together with another rider. Soon, we joined them, opening a good gap to the peloton. We worked really well together in our breakaway and we started the climb with a good advantage. But, unfortunately, it was not enough to win the stage. However, I am optimistic as I feel like my time is coming, – said Alexey Lutsenko.
“Alexey showed his leadership qualities today. He had a great race and showed that he is getting to a good level of form, step by step. He did everything right; he maintained his energy well during the stage, attacked from the breakaway at the right time, and gave everything on the final climb. Well, today we missed a bit of luck, we missed a couple of hundred metres to win the stage, but it happens. We didn’t win today, but we’ll win next time. We knew that in today’s stage the breakaway would have a chance, so we planned to attack, to try something. The whole team had a very good day, so we can be happy if we talk about the race as a whole. It would have been perfect had we won, nevertheless, the way the team improves day by day makes us happy and optimistic ahead of the next races”, – added Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.
UAE Tour. Stage 5. Fujairah Marine Club – Jebel Jais, 170 km.
Stage Top-3: 1. Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma); 2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates); 3. Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers).
Astana – Premier Tech Stage Top-3: 11. Alexey Lutsenko; 19. Stefan De Bod; 27. Matteo Sobrero.
Photo credit: @GettyImages