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Critérium du Dauphiné. Stage 2. Third place for Jakob Fuglsang, green jersey for Alexey Lutsenko

A fast and intense day at the Critérium du Dauphiné for Astana Pro Team, with Gorka Izagirre making it in a strong breakaway, Alexey Lutsenko going for the stage win and in the end, Jakob Fuglsang finishing third at Stage 2 in the first group of riders fighting for the overall. By finishing sixth after yesterday’s eighth place, Alexey Lutsenko is the new leader in the Points Classification. The Kazakh champion will wear the green jersey tomorrow at Stage 3.

- Before the start, we didn’t expect that there would be a select group for the overall classification today, but it was a very hard stage and on the final climb a select group took off from the peloton. I was happy to be up there, but I hoped that we could make it across to the two guys in front because I thought Alexey Lutsenko could win the stage today. He helped me in the final sprint, so I was able to gain some bonus seconds for the GC. In the end, I think we can be satisfied with the team performance today. Everyone worked really well, they kept me in the right place at the right time so I was able to go with this group, - said Jakob Fuglsang.

- I had really good legs today and when we attacked I thought we could go for the stage victory, but on the final climb the rider in front of me left a gap behind Teuns and Martin, and we weren’t able to close this gap anymore. I’m glad that I could help Jakob Fuglsang in the end, because we’re here for his General Classification. It was a surprise that I’m now leading the Points Classification, but of course, it’s nice to wear this green jersey at tomorrow’s stage, - said Alexey Lutsenko.

Stage 2 started in Mauriac and finished in Craponne-sur-Arzon after 180 kilometers of racing. A group of thirteen riders took off from the start, including Gorka Izagirre but also several contenders for the General Classification. It was the start of an intense race, with an average of 44.5 kilometers an hour in the first two hours of the race, as the peloton didn’t want to let the breakaway gain too much time. After five climbs, Gorka Izagirre was only left with Tom Dumoulin and David Gaudu, but they got reeled as the reduced peloton was heading for the final climbs of the day.

A new breakaway took off, this time Kazakh champion Alexey Lutsenko made it into the group that would fight for the stage win. But on the final climb, Dylan Teuns and Guillaume Martin attacked and they made it all the way to the finish line, with Teuns taking the stage win and moving in the overall lead. Behind these two riders, Lutsenko dropped back into a select group of GC contenders that was created on the final climb of the day. Jakob Fuglsang was in this select group, and Lutsenko was his lead-out to take bonus seconds at the finish and to finish third in the stage.

After today’s hectic stage, Jakob Fuglsang moved into third overall, Alexey Lutsenko fourth. Lutsenko is the new leader in the Points Classification and will wear the green jersey tomorrow. Besides that, Astana Pro Team is now also leading the Team Classification.

Tomorrow the riders will start in Le Puy-en-Velay to finish in Riom after 177 kilometers.


Photo: ©Getty Images

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