Alexey Lutsenko takes a solo win at Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior
Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko won the inaugurate one-day Spanish race Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior, held today between Baeza and Úbeda, two cities of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Lutsenko attacked solo on the final part of 188-km-long distance, first time with some 50 km to go and again with around 28 km to go. His second attack became a decisive one, which, finally, brought him a stylish solo victory on the streets of Úbeda.
“I am really happy to take this win in my first race of the season. Together with the team I spent two good weeks at the altitude training camp in Teide and today I felt ready and motivated to try something. Last year I already won a gravel race – Serenissima Gravel, so I knew what to expect. The race turned out to be a hard one with a lot of climbs and gravel sectors. But the team helped me to save some energy for the decisive part and then I just did my best in attacks. I knew that Tim Wellens can be a real favorite in this kind of races, so my plan was to attack earlier and to try to go solo and it worked out perfectly. Well, it is a very nice feeling to win in the first race of the season! Now I am looking forward to the next race – Vuelta a Andalucia”, – said Alexey Lutsenko.
The race turned out to be a tough challenge for all riders since it included seven gravel sectors and many short but super steep climbs. There were many crashes on the gravel and, unfortunately, Astana Qazaqstan Team riders were also involved: Davide Martinelli and Dmitriy Gruzdev both crashed hardly but, fortunately, did not get any serious injury. Also, Yuriy Natarov and Nurbergen Nurlykhassym both got a flat tire in the first gravel sectors.
Closer to the final part Yevgeniy Fedorov, Dmitriy Gruzdev and Miguel Angel Lopez helped Alexey Lutsenko to get a good position, so the team leader launched his attack to make a huge selection in the group and then to go away solo for the race victory.
“Having a rider like Alexey Lutsenko in the race you can always expect something nice from him. We were ready to support Alexey, while he showed a phenomenal form at the start of the season and spent this day in a style! It was a tough and very demanding race, and I am happy with the way Alexey attacked today and took this win. It was a beautiful one and a good start of the season for him but also for all our team”, – said Giuseppe Martinelli, Sports Director of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
“This is the first win for Kazakh team in 2022 and it is symbolic that this beautiful victory has been brought by our Kazakh rider. I congratulate all our team and Alexey Lutsenko with this great performance! A solid start of the season! Well done!” – said Nurlan Smagulov, president of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation.
Photo credit: @Gettysport