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Alexey Lutsenko wins thrilling finale at the Arctic Race of Norway thanks to final time bonus

Joseph Delves
19 Aug 2019

Kazakh champion Alexey Lutsenko trades bonus seconds with Warren Barguil before overhauling him on tough final stage

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) has won the 2019 Arctic Race of Norway, repeatedly attacking on the final stage to take victory by a single second.

Following the penultimate Queen Stage, French rider Warren Barguil (Arkéa–Samsic) had built himself a three-second lead coming into the final day, and this set up a contest which looked likely to be settled by who could steal the most bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints.

Barguil started well, extending his lead by gaining two seconds at the first. Yet in the final intermediate sprint, the positions were reversed, with the Kazakh champion outsprinting Barguil to pick up three bonus seconds to the Frenchman’s two.

With Lutsenko unable to shake his rival over the last few punchy climbs, this left Barguil with a four-second lead coming into the final sprint.

With Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X Development Team) and Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Jumbo-Visma) having gone clear to take first and second respectively, four bonus seconds remained for the third-place finisher. Finishing at the head of the bunch, Lutsenko nipped off the front to grab them and make it a tie.

With confusion over the final result, neither Barguil nor Lutsenko initially seemed sure as to which rider had won. However, it quickly transpired that Lutsenko had got far enough clear of the pack to be given a one second faster time than Barguil, sealing his overall victory.

Having felt his sprint to have been impeded by Enrico Gasparotto (Dimension Data), Barguil made his displeasure known, remonstrating with the Italian rider behind the finish line.

Later branding Gasparotto an ‘idiot’, his hard feelings didn’t extend to Lutsenko who he said was a ‘beautiful winner’ and ‘an aggressive bike rider'.

Latvian Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) took the third spot on the podium, followed by Lutsenko’s Astana teammate Hugo Houle who finished fourth.

Following the race Lutsenko explained his win, ‘The penultimate stage was super hard and the final climb did not suit me well, but I knew that today’s profile would suit me much better.

'I was motivated to do something. I knew I had to attack the local laps, and I did my best. I attacked many times, but every time Barguil was on my wheel. He did a great race too.

'It was hard to drop him on the last climb, so I put everything on the final sprint and this tactic worked out very well.’

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