Stage 3 took the peloton from Istres over 140 short but challenging kilometers up to the iconic climb Mont Ventoux, at the Chalet Reynard. Astana Pro Team, with the overall leader Aleksandr Vlasov in their ranks, wanted to achieve another great result.
Right from the start, a group of riders launched an attack and pulled away. After some kilometers of racing, the breakaway of the day had more than four minutes gap. Astana stayed in the peloton, protecting their leader Aleksandr Vlasov.
Around 45 kilometers before the finish line, a soloist distanced himself from his former breakaway companions and opened an advantage of more than two minutes. Meanwhile in the peloton, Astana was setting the pace.
On the last ascent up to the finish, the race fell apart, as the soloist was caught, another rider launched an attack and was able to build a small gap. The whole Kazakh team put in again a strong effort, Alexey Lutsenko and Aleksandr Vlasov managed to ride in the first chasing group, only some seconds behind the soloist, Nairo Quintana. The steep climb took its toll and many riders lost contact to the chasers, not so Alexey Lutsenko and Aleksandr Vlasov. Both Astana riders showed a strong performance, but Nairo Quintana was able to hold the gap and took the stage win. The Kazakh champion crossed the line in a strong second place, followed by his teammate, who took fourth.
Following this result, Vlasov now ranks second and Lutsenko third in the overall ranking, one minute behind the new leader Quintana. The Russian champion still leads the sprint and youth classification. Astana Pro Team also leads the team classification of the Tour de la Provence. Tomorrow, the final stage of the Tour de la Provence will take the riders from Avignon to Aix-en-Provence over 170,5 kilometers.
- It was a good race for us, the team worked once again very well together. We tried to defend the jersey, but Quintana was really strong today on the final climb. Nevertheless, we finished in second and fourth place. And we are now going into tomorrow’s stage in second and third place in the overall ranking and will give our best to achieve another good result. Also, congrats to our team in Murcia for the amazing win and second place. – Dmitriy Fofonov
- I am satisfied with my result today. The whole stage we stayed in the bunch and saved the energy for the final climb and as we headed onto the final climb I worked for Aleksandr. We both finished inside the Top 5 and tomorrow we have the final stage here in the Provence. - Alexey Lutsenko
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