The Kazakh understandably dedicated his victory to himself, laughing about how he crashed on the slippy roads of Le Marche - the second time at just 1.5km from the finish – but some how got going again and found the speed to win the four-rider sprint.
“I was thinking I just had a win. The last 200 metres were a fight, so I'm happy to be able to pull it off,” Lutsenko explained.
“After the first crash I felt pretty bad but got going again, then after the second one, I didn’t understand why I went down but knew I just had to keep fighting. When they passed me at 600 metres to go, I got on Roglič’s wheel. I told myself to give it everything because I had to win after all the work I’ve done in training in recent months. Me winning shows you never know what can happen in racing.”
Lutsenko movingly dedicated each of his victories at the Tour of Oman to his wife after she suffered miscarriage in December, pointing to the sky. This victory was payback for his own personal suffering and for the hard work he has done in recent months to ensure he was on superb form for the early season.
Sacrificing Milan-San Remo to train for the Ardennes Classics
“This win is for me, this pays me back for all my hard work. Other times I’ve put my arms up for other people but I think I deserved this one. When you watch racing on television you don’t see the hours and hours of training there is behind it, all the time spent at altitude camps and way from home,” he said.
Lutsenko won three stages at the overall classification at the Tour of Oman. He was fourth at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after being in the decisive attack and was seventh at last Saturday’s Strade Bianche.
Somewhat surprisingly he will not ride Milan-San Remo, preferring to rest up fro his first block of racing and then head back to altitude on Mount Teide before targeting the Ardennes Classics.
“We’ve decided to target the Ardennes this year rather than the cobbled classics and so I need to rest up after this race and then head altitude. I need 13 or 14 days at altitude before the Ardennes and so that’s why I’m missing Milan-San Remo,” he explained.
“My form curve will perhaps go down but then hopefully back up for the classic. Oman was good to find form for this race and the Ardennes Classics.
"I was under 23-world champion in Valkenberg and so I’d love to win the Amstel Gold Race and perhaps even Liege-Bastogne-Liege too. That’s the reason by my plans this spring.”