Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) led race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) to the line 21 seconds later. The solo attack moved Lutsenko up into second overall, just six seconds behind the Australian.
“This is my second victory in WorldTour race and I think it is a very good way to start the season. I want to dedicate today’s win to my family, who make many sacrifices when I’m away from hom for long periods. Tomorrow we will race in Nice, that is my home here in France, I’m so proud about today’s performance and now I’m second on the GC, just 6 seconds from the yellow jersey: let’s see how the race will develop in the last two stages,” he said.
Lutsenko, a former U23 world champion, and current Kazakhstan time trial champion, made his move after the Col de Séze, and ran down the last rider of the early breakaway, Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) with 17km to go.
“I was feeling quite good on the last climbs of the day so, when my teammates Lars Boom was caught by the bunch, I tried a couple of times to go. The first time, the group caught me. On the second I escaped and I knew there was still one guy at the front, but, honestly, I thought to go as fast as possible and that was the right choice.”
With Katusha riding flat out behind, Lutsenko left Duchesne in the dust with 15km to go and continued to put down the power, knowing that because he started the day just 33 seconds behind race leader Matthews, every second would count. At 10km to go, he had 40 seconds on the peloton.
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