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With a dominant solo ride, Smukulis finally took a long overdue first Latvian road race title; Luksevics was second and Skujins a very distant third

Photo: Paumer Kare Dhelie Thorstad

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GATIS SMUKULIS

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TOMS SKUJINŠ

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27.06.2016 @ 02:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After four previous appearances on the podium, Gatis Smukulis (Astana) finally took his first Latvian road race title. The Astana rider delivered an impressive solo performance to beat Viesturs Luksevics (Alpha Baltic) by 56 seconds while Toms Skujins (Cannondale) was a massive 7.36 behind in third.

 

In 2005, Gatis Smukulis finished on the podium at the Latvian road race championships for the first time when he came away with silver despite being only a junior rider. Since then, he has been arguable the best Latvian rider but surprisingly he has never won his national title.

 

Smukulis has finished second no less than three times and has one bronze medal on his palmares but until today the win had always eluded him. In 2016, he finally took the deserved win after a dominant showing on the 181km course in Rauna.

 

A few days after his win in the time trial, Smukulis joined forcs with Viestus Luksevics to put a huge amount of time into the rest of the field. The pair could battle it out for the win and here Smukulis easily rode away to put 56 seconds into his rival, giving him plenty of time to celeberate the win. Toms Skujins was a distant third, more than seven minutes behind the dominant Smukulis.

 

Smukulis is not part of the Astana team for the Tour de France so it is uncertain when he will wear the new jersey for the first time.

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