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Alexey Lutsenko climbed to victory out of the breakaway on stage 6 of the Tour de France.
The Kazakh national road champ dispatched the rest of his breakaway companions on the Col de la Lusette and then pressed on solo, cresting that summit and continuing to grow his advantage over the remaining escapees on the ascent to the finish. He hit the Mont Aigoual finish line 55 seconds ahead of runner-up Jesús Herrada, with Greg Van Avermaet in third, 2:15 back.
The GC riders arrived nearly three minutes behind Lutsenko, with Julian Alaphilippe jumping out of the group a few hundred meters before the line to nab one second on his rivals, but little changed in the battle for yellow with the GC contenders content to hold their fire on the day.
Adam Yates retained his overall race lead with a three-second gap to Primoz Roglic.
The 191-kilometer stage from Le Teil saw a brief but hard-fought battle to get into the break minutes into the stage, with Lutsenko, Herrada, Van Avermaet, Neilson Powless, Nicolas Roche, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Rémi Cavagna, and Daniel Oss forming the eight-rider move of the day. The peloton initially seemed hesitant to let that configuration of riders get clear but before long the pack eased off and the gap to the break grew quickly from there.
As the stage rolled on the gap grew out to a maximum of a little over six minutes, with little action in the peloton and relative cooperation out front for much of the day. The break’s advantage began to shrink in the second half of the stage but as a trio of late categorized climbs and the uphill finish approached it was clear the break had a real shot at the stage win. Things began to heat up in the move on the early slopes of the Col de la Lusette as the break began to lose riders, leaving Herrada, Roche, Cavagna, Lutsenko, and Powless attacking each other on the climb.
Lutsenko won a war of attrition as his rivals lost touch one by one, and near the top of the climb he left Powless behind to press on solo. He only grew his advantage from there, holding on through the descent off the Col de la Lusette and into the ascent to the finish to solo across the line for the convincing victory.
Top 10, stage 6
1 LUTSENKO Alexey (Astana Pro Team) 4:32:34
2 HERRADA Jesús (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) 0:55
3 VAN AVERMAET Greg (CCC Team) 2:15
4 POWLESS Neilson (EF Pro Cycling) 2:17
5 ALAPHILIPPE Julian (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 2:52
6 MOLLEMA Bauke (Trek – Segafredo) 2:53
7 KWIATKOWSKI Michal (INEOS Grenadiers)
8 BERNAL Egan (INEOS Grenadiers)
9 CARAPAZ Richard (INEOS Grenadiers)
10 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott)
Top 10, GC
1 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 27:03:57
2 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 0:03
3 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:07
4 MARTIN Guillaume (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) 0:09
5 BERNAL Egan (INEOS Grenadiers) 0:13
6 DUMOULIN Tom (Team Jumbo-Visma)
7 CHAVES Esteban (Mitchelton-Scott)
8 QUINTANA Nairo (Team Arkéa Samsic)
9 BARDET Romain (AG2R La Mondiale)
10 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team)
In other news
| Ciccone out of Tirreno-Adriatico after COVID-19 positive
Trek-Segafredo has announced the Giulio Ciccone has been removed from the team’s roster for Tirreno-Adriatico after he tested positive for COVID-19.
The reigning king of the mountains at the Giro d’Italia registered the positive result on a test taken on August 31. After initially testing negative ahead of a training camp prior to Tirreno-Adriatico, Ciccone went home due to fatigue, and then tested positive in pre-race testing. According to Trek-Segafredo, Ciccone’s last contact with teammates was on August 23, and none of the other riders on the Tirreno roster have returned positive tests for COVID-19 up to this point. Riders will receive one more round of test results before the start of the race, which gets underway on September 7.
| Narváez wins Coppi e Bartali stage 3
Jhonatan Narváez won stage 3 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.
After finishing second on Wednesday’s stage 2, the 23-year-old Ecuadorian did one better on Thursday, topping Pascal Eenkhoorn and Biniam Ghirmay Hailu to get the win in Riccione. Andrea Bagioli continues to lead the race.
| Meeus wins stage 6 of U23 Giro
After notching two second-place finishes earlier in the race, Jordi Meeus picked up a stage victory on Thursday’s stage 6 at the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia. The young Belgian topped Cristian Rocchetta and Arne Marit in a sprint in Colico.
Tom Pidcock continues to lead the race.
| HED Cycling renames gravel wheels, adds new model
HED is changing the name of its gravel wheelset range from Eroica to Emporia. The previous name probably hit some opposition from those behind the L’Eroica events. The wheels continue unchanged except for the branding, however, there is one addition.
HED has launched the new Emporia GC3 Pro to headline its gravel range. This 1,395 g (claimed) wheelset features a 30 mm deep carbon rim that offers a 26 mm internal width. These new wheels sell for US$2,200.
| Bontrager adds more tubeless options to workhorse R3 Hard-Case road tires
Bontrager’s R3 line of everyday higher-performance road tires is moving further into the tubeless direction with two additional tubeless-ready sizes. Joining the 700×32 mm R3 TLR model are new 700×25 mm and 700×28 mm options for road bikes that have more traditional clearances.
According to Bontrager, these latest 170TPI TLR tires provide a “better tubeless road experience” – particularly via an easier installation and inflation — thanks to precise bead sizing and “stretch-free” carbon beads that won’t get sloppy over time. Both of the new tires also get Bontrager’s TR-Speed rubber compounds and a nylon breaker belt under the tread that purportedly provides a nice balance of good rolling resistance and puncture protection.
Perhaps most importantly, Bontrager confirms that these new tires are compliant with updated tubeless road technical guidelines that are pending from the ETRTO and ISO governing bodies.
Claimed weight for the 700×25 mm R3 TLR is 285 grams; the 28 mm-wide version is 300 grams.
Pricing for all the R3 TLR tires has also dropped to US$55 / AU$80 / £50 / €60 — matching that of the standard tube-type R3.
| Coming up at the Tour
The Tour de France continues on with 168-kilometer stage 7 from Millau to Lavaur. The wind could potentially be a factor late in the day, but otherwise it looks like a good opportunity for the sprinters.
In case you missed it
| Arbitrary lines took Alaphilippe’s yellow jersey away
As Caley Fretz writes, the rule that Julian Alaphilippe broke on Wednesday is not vague, but it is arbitrary.
| Specialized and Roval have stopped investing in tubulars: Here’s why
Dave Rome looks into what’s behind the decision by Specialized and Roval to shift focus away from tubular tires.
Today’s featured image of Alexey Lutsenko winning stage 6 of the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.