Astana cyclist Lutsenko wins Tour of Almaty
The Tour of Almaty, total distance of 186 km (six 31km loops), kicked off at 10:00 a.m. from Nurly Tau business center.
In the beginning, a cycler from Kazakhstan Dmitriy Gruzdev and Ilnur Zakarin from RusVelo took the lead of the race. The cyclers stayed 4 minutes ahead of their closest rivals, but lost to Lutsenko at the finish line.
Earlier, Lutsenko also took the gold at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Sergey Chernetsky of Katyusha took the second place, while RusVelo’s Sergey Lagutin crossed the finish line third.
Lutsenko dedicated his victory to his 9-month-old baby. The cycler thanked the Astana Pro Team and Nimbali for support.
The Tour of Almaty was organized by the Almaty Akimat (Municipal authorities) and Kazakhstan Cycling Federation. The competition was broadcasted live by Eurosport, KazSport and Almaty channels.
Cyclers from Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan), Team Katusha (Russia), Team La Pomme Marseille 13 (France), Bardiani (Italy), Rusvelo (Russia), Team Novo Nordisk (USA), Vino 4-Ever (Kazakhstan) и Kazakhstan National Team (Kazakhstan) competed in the race on October 5 among 20 participating teams. The winner of the 2014 Tour de France captain of Astana Pro Team Vincenzo Nibali participated as the main guest.
The General Manager of Astana Team Pro Alexander Vinokurov said that the competition was well organized. “It is a great event, where you are not waiting for a peloton, but enjoy a sprint. It is a very interesting race,” Vinokurov said.
“Last year we organised the professional cycling race Tour of Almaty for the first time in our country. The Union Cycliste Internationale raised the category of the race to 1.1, which allowed participation of the best professional teams,” the Akim Akhmetzhan Yessimov said at the opening of the race.
The Head of the Kazakhstan’s Cycling Federation Kairat Kelimbetov added that the event had a symbolic meaning since it coincided with the 100th anniversary of cycling in Kazakhstan. “Having a 1.1 international cycling race will be an important contribution into the development of Kazakhstani cycling that has been gaining more and more popularity lately,” Kelimbetov said.
Tom Van Damme of the UCI also noted the high level of the Tour Almaty. “Today Kazakhstan is a fast developing cycling country. I want to note the significant role of the organizers, who conducted the event at a high level. For international cyclers it is very important to expand their cycling geography and not just to continue developing the sport in the countries it has already succeeded in. I can say that Kazakhstan is in the forefront of it,” the head of the UCI said.
By Gyuzel Kamalova