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Jakob Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre take stage wins in Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice after brave solo attacks

After yesterday’s stage win of Alexey Lutsenko, today Jakob Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre both finished a great solo attack to win stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico and stage 8 of Paris-Nice. These were the eighteenth and nineteenth victory of Astana Pro Team in 2019, making it the best start of the season in the history of the team. Izagirre won the final stage of Paris-Nice, Jakob Fuglsang moved into third place overall at Tirreno-Adriatico after his win, with still two stages to go.

- I dedicate this victory to my former teammate Michele Scarponi. Yesterday I spoke with his widow at the start, and it inspired me even more, to go for a stage win in the race that Michele loved to ride. The team worked very well today, everyone within the team is in great shape so far during this season. It’s great to experience all this success, everything comes together during the past few months. Two years ago, around this time, we didn’t win once. Now have nineteen victories. It’s amazing, but we will see if we can keep performing like this during the rest of the season. Today, when the team did a great effort by closing the gap with the break, I tried to save as much energy as possible. On the final climb of the local lap, with one more lap to go, I knew it was my time to attack. I knew everyone had to work very hard to keep the wheel of Alexey Lutsenko and Dario Cataldo, and I benefit from that right at the top of the climb. I’m really happy with this win, and for sure I will try to keep the podium, - said Jakob Fuglsang.

- This was the classical stage of the Paris-Nice and we knew pretty well the attacks and breakaways could bring success. So we had a good plan to animate the race from the start. Finally, I was able to go in the break together with my teammates, Luis Leon, Miguel Angel, and Hugo. Indeed, it was a great day for us, we wanted to improve the position of Luis Leon in the general classification but also to fight for the stage. I felt good during the whole day and in a moment when I say a possibility I attacked. I was able to get a gap and continued pushing the pedals until the finish. I am super happy with my win, I wanted to win this stage so badly! I think we did a strong race here at the Paris-Nice with the victories of Magnus Cort and mine. I know that in the same moment Jakob Fuglsang took a win at the Tirreno-Adriatico, so I congratulate him as well! What a team we have! It is so great,- said Ion Izagirre.

It is a great end of this week! Our team is looking strong in both races, at both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. This is the true result of the hard work, which the team did during the off-season. Now, all that work pays off. I saw a very united team with a great atmosphere in France and in Italy during my visits this week. This is the key to our success. I congratulate Ion Izagirre on his beautiful victory today in Nice and at the same time, I am super happy for Jakob Fuglsang, who scored an impressive win at Tirreno. I want to thank all our sponsors and partners, who support us and make this possible!- said General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

In Tirreno-Adriatico, the riders started in Colli al Metauro to finish in Recanati after 180 kilometers of racing with multiple challenging climbs in the final part of the race. A breakaway of ten riders formed early in the race, but when the race entered the local laps, only a few riders of this group remained. The riders of Astana Pro Team started chasing at the front of a reduced peloton, and when Dario Cataldo finished pulling, Jakob Fuglsang took off. He managed to close the gap with two remaining riders of the break, but with 13 kilometers to go he went solo and took the stage win with an impressive solo attack. Adam Yates finished second, retaining his race lead, Primoz Roglic was third.

With two stages to go, a relatively flat stage and an ITT, Jakob Fuglsang is third on 35 seconds of Adam Yates and 10 seconds on Primoz Roglic. Tomorrow, the riders start from Matelica to finish in Jesi after 195 kilometers.  

In Paris-Nice, the start and finish were in the city center of Nice. The stage of 110 kilometers was characterized by 6 hard climbs. The race exploded immediately after the start with many attacks. Finally, a group of 40 riders went away with a gap of 2 minutes over the peloton with 4 Astana Pro Team riders there: Ion Izagirre, Luis Leon Sanchez, Miguel Angel Lopez, and Hugo Houle. That leading group reduced heavily on the climbs, while later one of the GC contenders, Nairo Quintana, joined the leaders after his decisive move from the peloton.

Hugo Houle and Miguel Angel Lopez worked hard for Luis Leon Sanchez and Ion Izagirre, to give their teammates a chance to stay clear in the front. Ion Izagirre attacked inside the final 15 kilometers and with this solo, he took the stage 8 win. In the tough battle for the general classification, the Colombian Egan Bernal was able to protect his lead, thus winning the race. Nairo Quintana is second, Michal Kwiatkowski third. Luis Leon Sanchez was able to move up to the 9th place in the final overall standings after today’s stage.


Photo: ©Getty Images

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