Salon-de-Provence - Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko came home alone to win the fifth stage
of the Paris-Nice race on Friday and close the gap on overall race
leader Michael Matthews of Australia.
Astana's Lutsenko broke away
from the peloton 28km from the line to cross 21 seconds ahead of the
pursuing pack led by Norway's Alexander Kristoff and Matthews.
rider Matthews remains in the leader's yellow jersey after gaining
bonus points by finishing in third, but Lutsenko moves up from 15th to
second place just six seconds off the pace with two stages to go.
"I wanted to win, I wasn't thinking about the yellow jersey. We'll see for tomorrow," said Lutsenko.
mythical Mont Ventoux, with a climb two-thirds of the way up to Chalet
Reynard in the first part of the race, did not decide the 198km stage.
Antoine Duchesne, among an early breakaway group, shook off his rivals
41km from the line but was caught and overtaken by former world junior
champion Lutsenko, 23, in the final 20km.
"It was a hard day for
everybody but I feel good," said Matthews. "Not super but good. I don't
think anybody feels super after the first three days we had.
had noted this stage down as I was hoping we could get rid of the
sprinters along the way but as we didn't, we sat back and let the other
teams do the work. The priority was then the yellow jersey more than the
"I'm not going to say I can win Paris-Nice but I'm
going to give it everything I have. It's already over for the green
jersey, I won it, so now it's all for the yellow."
penultimate stage, the toughest of the week, will cover 177km between
Nice and Madonne d'Utelle, taking in seven climbs, with a summit finish
after a final 15.3km climb.
Results following Friday's 198km fifth stage of the Paris-Nice race between Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux and Salon-de-Provence:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/AST) 5hr 00min 26sec (average: 39.5 km/h), 2. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) at 21sec, 3. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) 21, 4. Davide Cimolai (ITA/LAM) 21, 5. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/LNL) 21, 6. Pieter Serry (BEL/ETI) 21, 7. Vicente Reynes (ESP/IAM) 21, 8. Leonardo Duque (COL/DMP) 21, 9. Oliver Naesen (BEL/IAM) 21, 10. Arnold Jeannesson (FRA/COF) 21
29. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 21.
1. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) 19hr 24min 58sec, 2. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/AST) at 0:06sec, 3. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 0:18, 4. Patrick Bevin (NZL/CAN) 0:23, 5. Ion Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 0:23, 6. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 0:23, 7. Lieuwe Westra (NED/AST) 0:28, 8. Dries Devenyns (BEL/IAM) 0:29, 9. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 0:31, 10. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 0:31.
17. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 0:37.