Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko may be nine seconds down to cycling’s ‘Mr Everything’ Mathieu van der Poel at the halfway mark of the four-day Arctic Race of Norway, but the current Kazakhstan road race champion is confident of what lies ahead.
The 26-year-old from Petropavl believes the 176.5-kilometre penultimate queen stage offers an ideal opportunity to claim both the day and the race atop the Storheia Summit in Melbu on Saturday. In fact, Lutsenko likens the 3.5km at 11.8 percent final to that of the Green Mountain stage finish he won in February en route to his second consecutive overall victory at the Tour of Oman.
“I tried to win again sprint for bonus, but last 5k was difficult,” Lutsenko told Eurosport after finishing Stage 2 won by Frenchman Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept).
“Tomorrow is good stage for me for GC, it’s a small Mont Ventoux. Oman is the same, 6k, 11 percent. I feel good after the Tour de France, we’ll see tomorrow.”
While the reigning cyclocross world champion, Amstel Gold Race winner and recently crowned European mountain bike champion looks unstoppable as of late, Lutsenko is not focused on the 24-year-old Dutchman or the reigning French national champion and Grand Tour GC specialist Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic).
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“No, my focus is to just win the stage and then after the last stage, No.4, is also hard with a lot of climbs,” he said. “Tomorrow we will see how my legs feel.”