Lutsenko wins the pulse of Herrada on Mont Aigoual

The Kazakh finished the escape alone, with 55 seconds of advantage over the Spanish. The favorites remained without moving in the second high finish of the Tour.


Alexéi Lutsenko, a 27-year-old Kazakh, a victorious hunter since his time as U-23 world champion, won escaping on Mont Aigoual, along the Massif Central roads little traveled by the Tour de France, but immortalized for cycling and for literature in the delightful book 'The Cyclist' by Dutchman Tim Krabbé, who was a runner in his early days, before dedicating his life to writing. Highly recommended. Much more than the stage this Thursday, in which the big favorites continued without moving. And it's been six days like this. All with the calculator and saving for the next day that never comes. Will it be this weekend in the Pyrenees?

Lutsenko, winner of a stage of the Vuelta a España in Alcocéber in 2017, finished off the break of the day, which this Thursday did exist, not as in the bland previous day. Eight good greyhounds got there, including Jesús Herrada, a 30-year-old from La Mancha, double champion of Spain and double leader of the Vuelta, where he also has a victory in Ares del Maestrat. A credentialed veteran who crossed the line in second position, 55 seconds away. The cyclist from Mota del Cuervo was brave, but he could never counteract the strength of the Kazakh.

Also traveling on the escape was Greg van Avermaet, a 35-year-old wolf, Olympic champion in 2016 and UCI WorldTour in 2017, and winner of multi-colored classics, such as Paris-Roubaix, who wore the virtual yellow jersey for much of the race. He finished third, 2:15 behind the winner of Astana. The group had stripes, as is often the case in the Tour stages. The best cyclists in the world race here, usually at their best pedaling moment. That is why it disappoints so much when there is no battle.

In the roosters peloton, Ineos took the reins of the race for the first time on this Tour, with the exception of the fans attempted in the soporific previous day, late and bad. We still don't really know why, other than to cut the runaway advantage in half. Before Ineos, Mitchelton had led the group, as Adam Yates' yellow one forced, and eight kilometers from the top the Australian team regained their head, without much change in the outlook. Only Fabio Aru moved, for himself and for a future attempt by Tadej Pogacar, but no one picked up the glove… And again they all arrived together, Julian Alaphilippe clawing for an inconsequential second. The terrain, with thirty kilometers of ascent linked in three ports, offered more possibilities.

The biggest scares for the bosses came from incidents unrelated to competitiveness. Enric Mas fell on the descent from the first third pass, and Pogacar suffered a breakdown seven kilometers from the summit. Without consequences for both in the classification. The thing did not give for more. And they go six days. Someone should remember that although little public is seen in the gutters, due to the pandemic, behind the television there is much more. We will have to wait for the Pyrenees. Hopefully.

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