photo credits @ Paris – Nice
Former under-23 world champion, Alexey Lutsenko, claimed stage 5 of Paris – Nice today, after imitating an attack 15 miles form the finish in Salon de Provence, to claim a solo victory 21 seconds ahead of his closest rivals.
Meanwhile, Michael Matthews managed to retain his lead in the overall classification, after finish in third place behind Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
A breakaway group containing Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff), Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-Quick Step), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Lars Boom (Astana), Wouter Wippert (Cannondale), Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Matthias Brandle (IAM) Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) and later joined by Jesus Herrada (Movistar), got underway during the first four kilometers of today’s stage.
From there, the escapees built up a sizable advantage of 11:05 over the peloton at the 27 kilometer mark – with the first intermediate sprint being won by Lars Boom, while Herrada led the group one the Col de la Madeleine.
As the breakaway group tackle the infamous climb of the Ventoux, they were still holding onto a substantial lead of eight minutes over the peloton.
However, during the first switchbacks of the climb, Brandle lost ground with his breakaway companions, while top sprinters such as Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Marcel Kittel (Etixx) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) were among those dropped by peloton.
Greipel later called it quits, as did Frenchman Alexis Gougeard (AG2R).
Back at the front, Courteille and Herrada parted company with their breakaway companions, with Herrada once again being the first rider over the summit, while Duchesne managed to latch back onto the duo.
The trio was later chased down by Boom and Vandenbergh along the descent, while the remnants of the breakaway reached the summit six minutes behind.
As the quintet reached the climb of the Col du Pointu, they were still holding onto 3:25 gap over the chase.
In Lourmarin, Vandenbergh took the sprint honors, while a split at the foot of Cote de la Roque d’Antheron, saw Duchesne off on a lone attack.
Duchesne later crested the Cote de la Roque d’Antheron in a solo effort, while Herrada and Courteille continued to linger close behind.
Meanwhile, back in the peloton, Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale) was busy shaking things up, while Alberto Contador was seen for the first time up at the front in this year’s race.
Heading over the final climb of the Col de Seze, Duchesne was still clinging to a 33 second lead over the chase.
However, it was along the descent, that Lutsenko would make his move.
From there, the Astana rider succeeded in catching Duchesne during the final 15 kilometers.
With 10 kilometers remaining, Lutsenko commenced his winning move, leaving Duchesne unable to match his pace.
In a final effort, Kristoff tried to bridge himself to Lutsenko, but without any support, he was forced to let the Kazakstan rider go.
Stage 5 Results
KAZ 1 LUTSENKO, Alexey (ASTANA) 5:00:26
NOR 2 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA) + 21
AUS 3 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE)
ITA 4 CIMOLAI, Davide (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
BEL 5 VANMARCKE, Sep (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
BEL 6 SERRY, Pieter (ETIXX – QUICK STEP)
ESP 7 REYNES MIMO, Vicente (IAM CYCLING)
COL 8 DUQUE, Leonardo Fabio (DELKO MARSEILLE PROVENCE KTM)
BEL 9 NAESEN, Oliver (IAM CYCLING)
FRA 10 JEANNESSON, Arnold (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
BEL 11 VANDENBERGH, Stijn (ETIXX – QUICK STEP)
FRA 12 REZA, Kévin (FDJ)
ESP 13 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Gorka (MOVISTAR)
BEL 14 PAUWELS, Serge (DIMENSION DATA)
NZL 15 BEVIN, Patrick (CANNONDALE)
FRA 16 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
FRA 17 SIMON, Julien (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
ITA 18 FELLINE, Fabio (TREK – SEGAFREDO)
GBR 19 SWIFT, Ben (SKY)
NED 20 KELDERMAN, Wilco (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
General Classification after Stage 5
AUS 1 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) 19:24:58
KAZ 2 LUTSENKO, Alexey (ASTANA) + 6
NED 3 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 18
NZL 4 BEVIN, Patrick (CANNONDALE) + 23
ESP 5 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Jon (MOVISTAR)
GBR 6 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY)
NED 7 WESTRA, Lieuwe (ASTANA) + 28
BEL 8 DEVENYNS, Dries (IAM CYCLING) + 29
POL 9 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF) + 31
AUS 10 PORTE, Richie (BMC RACING)
BEL 11 WELLENS, Tim (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 32
NED 12 KELDERMAN, Wilco (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 34
BEL 13 VANMARCKE, Sep (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 35
ESP 14 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Gorka (MOVISTAR)
ESP 15 FERNANDEZ, Ruben (MOVISTAR)
FRA 16 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 37
ESP 17 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF)
GBR 18 YATES, Simon (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 41
GBR 19 SWIFT, Ben (SKY) + 42
USA 20 CRADDOCK, Lawson (CANNONDALE) + 44
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