'Top three in the Tour de France is a goal for me and the team': Alexey Lutsenko's ambitious plan

The Kazakh rider finished seventh at the 2021 Tour and second at the Critérium du Dauphiné

Alexey Lutsenko
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alexey Lutsenko has said he will aim for a podium at the Tour de France.

The Kazakh riding for the Kazakhstani team of Astana has been very consistent on all terrain in various types of races, but has struggled to go that one step further and to win or compete for the biggest races.

Lutsenko managed a very impressive seventh place at the 2021 Tour, after taking second at the Critérium du Dauphiné behind Ineos Grenadiers' Richie Porte.

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Speaking at Astana's training camp in Spain, Lutsenko said: "It’s not going to be easy but top three in the Tour de France is a goal for me and the team.

"This year with my seventh in the Tour I proved that I can be in the mix with the best riders. Thanks to the team and staff I did an amazing job this year, so I think that we’ll try and do everything possible in the next years to reach this goal. Nothing is impossible and it’s a really big goal for the next years."

However, this may be even more challenging than in previous years, with the return of Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) to the fold as well as defending champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) who will be looking for a third title in a row.

Additional competition will come from the likes of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz (both Ineos Grenadiers), Enric Mas (Movistar), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) among others.

But the rider who has spent his entire 10-year career with Astana says that he and his team are fully invested in working towards Grand Tours.

"I had to change a lot to be Grand Tour GC rider. I took it step-by-step, first by being competitive in the week-long races. Then we decided to work towards Grand Tours. 

"We changed a lot in our preparation, it’s completely different for a lot of things, like eating. There are a lot of things to change if you want to be a Grand Tour rider.

"I had some good results in other races, like the cobbled Classics but I think that I have good room to improve in the mountains and the longer races. I can be competitive there and year by year I feel like I’m getting better at climbing, and on the longer climbs too."

The 29-year-old said that after the team's second training camp on the island of Tenerife he would go to the Tour de la Provence before heading to the Vuelta a Andalucía, otherwise known as the Ruta del Sol.

After that it's the Ardennes with a potential ride at the Tour of Flanders then a break before the Dauphiné and the Tour.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.