LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) — Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) won a hilly stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse, the penultimate stage of the race, after spending a long 152.5km day in the breakaway.
The 22-year-old jumped into a large move early on in the action, but then attacked out of the bigger escape group with Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale). A lack of organization among the chasers in the bigger group behind helped the pair hold on to its slim lead all the way to the finish line in Bern. Despite doing the majority of the work on the front of the breakaway duo, Lutsenko easily outmatched Bakelants in a two-man sprint for the stage win to take his first career WorldTour victory. Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) made his own move alone out of the larger breakaway group behind to take third on the stage.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” said Lutsenko, a former under-23 world champion. “I paced my attack 20km from the finish. I wasn’t too worried about Bakelants as I knew I could beat him in a sprint.”
The bunch rolled across the line over two minutes behind, with GC hopefuls Geraint Thomas (Sky), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), and Simon Spilak (Katusha) picking up three seconds over race leader Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and others in a late split. Thibaut Pinot still holds onto the yellow jersey, but his lead over second-placed Thomas now stands at 34 seconds.
The Tour de Suisse concludes Sunday with a 38.4km individual time trial, also in the Swiss capital of Bern.