Lutsenko fires straight away
February 17 th 2019 - 16:46 [GMT + 4]
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) claimed his first victory of the season on stage 2 of the 2019 Tour of Oman, his second day of racing this year. The Kazakh champ, who won the race overall in 2018, attacked in the final climb of the day and soloed to victory in the final five kilometres to Al Bustan. The race leader Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) survived the climbs of the day to finish second, ahead of the new best young rider Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data). Another punchy finish awaits the riders at Qurayyat on Monday.
A pack of 124 took the start in front of the Royal Cavalry without Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin), who won last year in Al Bustan but was forced to withdraw due to illness. Four riders quickly broke away: Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Gobert), Lionel Taminiaux (Wallonie Bruxelles), Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias) and Preben van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). Alexander Kristoff’s UAE Team Emirates drove the bunch behind them and the gap was up to X at the bottom of the first ascent of the day, the climb of Fanja (summit at km 49).
Preben van Hecke pushed hard to climb the first KOM point of the 2019 Tour of Oman ahead of Lionel Taminiaux and Aritz Bagües. The attackers kept pushing after the climb and their lead rose to 4’30” before Astana and CCC Pro Team started to pull the peloton with 90 km to go.
Van Hecke accelerated again in the climb of Al Jabal Street and Taminiaux dropped back to the bunch. The pack was only trailing by 1’25” as the race entered the last 50 kilometres. Van Hecke went solo in the penultimate climb, at Al Hamriyah. Behind him, CCC pushed hard and the gap was down to 25” at the summit. The Belgian attacker was eventually reeled in with 16 km to go.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) enjoyed the final climb, in Al Jissah, to attack. Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) tried to follow, unsuccessfully. A counter-attack went in the downhill with the Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet but didn’t succeed either. Eventually, the red jersey Alexander Kristoff was the fastest of the bunch ahead of Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data), the mnew leader of the best young rider classification.