Kazakhstan national champion Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) claimed a solo victory at Mont Aigoual, a spectacular and unprecedented stage finish in the southern Occitanie region. He collected his first ever Tour de France win four days before turning 28 thanks to a well-timed acceleration 4km before the summit of La Lusette with 17.5km to go. Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) came second and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) third while Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the yellow jersey.
EIGHT RIDERS IN THE LEAD
172 riders started stage 6 in Le Teil. Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) was the first in action in the uphill start, soon rejoined by Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), and a bit later by Neilson Powless (EF), Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana). They reached a maximum advantage of 6’45’’ at km 87 with Van Avermeat being the virtual leader of the overall classification after 27km. 51.8km were covered by the breakaway riders in the first hour of racing!
LUTSENKO ALONE AT COL DE LA LUSETTE
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) consolidated his green jersey by three points at the intermediate sprint won in the front group by Boasson Hagen (km 125.5). The deficit of the peloton decreased to four minutes when Jumbo-Visma took over from Mitchelton-Scott up the cat. 3 Cap de Coste with 45km to go. As the bunch reached the unprecedented col de la Lusette, Ineos-Grenadier sped up. The front group split into pieces with birthday boy Powless going on the offensive but Lutsenko was attentive. The Kazakhstani rider rode away solo 4km before the summit. He crested La Lusette alone in the lead, 23 seconds before Herrada and 1’15’’ before Powless and Van Avermaet while the peloton was timed at 3’.
NO LUCK FOR HERRADA ON THE HUNT
Herrada continued to chase hard also after the col de la Lusette but Lutsenko didn’t give him a chance to come across. The Kazakhstani rider was well composed till the end. A double winner of the Tour of Oman overall, he won stage 5 of La Vuelta in 2017 at Alcossebre, also at an uphill finish after a long lasting breakaway. This is his first Tour de France victory. He didn’t threaten the yellow jersey of Yates but Julian Alaphilippe attacked from the bunch in the last kilometre to try and make up some time after he lost the lead on stage 5 due to irregular feeding.