Wednesday April 28 — Aigle to Martigny, 168.1km
Peter Sagan claimed his first Tour de Romandie stage since his last appearance at the race in 2010 when the Bora-Hansgrohe rider won a sprint finish ahead of Sonny Colbrelli and Patrick Bevin on Wednesday.
It was the second win of the season for Sagan , the three-time world champion, and will provide the Slovakian a wee-timed confidence boost as he prepares for his second outing at the Giro d’Italia which gets under way in 11 days’ time with a short individual time trial in Turin on May 8.
In what was a scrappy finale to a lumpy and circuitous stage, Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) opened up his sprint first before Sagan jumped onto his wheel, taking with him Bevin (Israel-Start up Nation). However, once Sagan launched his decisive sprint neither were able to respond.
There was no change at the top of the general classification and so Rohan Dennis will start Thursday’s hilly second stage wearing the leader’s yellow jersey, while Ineos Grenadiers team-mates Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte are 9sec behind in second and third respectively.
Chris Froome (Israel-Start up Nation), meanwhile, finished in the second group 3min 34sec behind the main protagonists and so despite moving up the general classification by 25 places, trails Dennis by 4min 26sec after just two days racing – one of which was a short prologue time trial.
Prologue: Ineos dominate as Froome’s struggles continue
Tuesday April 27 — Oron, 4.05km (individual time trial)
Rohan Dennis clocked on for his first race in over a month in impressive style when the Australian led home an Ineos Grenadiers one-two-three on the opening day of racing at the Tour de Romandie on Tuesday.
Dennis powered his way around the short but lumpy 4.05 kilometre prologue course in just five minutes 26 seconds to take his second win of the season in the six-day race in Switzerland ahead of team-mates Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte who were second and third respectively.
Thomas completed the time trial around Oron nine seconds adrift of Dennis, a former world time trial champion, while another Australian Porte completed his ride on the same time as the Welshman in third.
“I’m happy with that, it’s a decent start,” said Thomas, who is using the race as part of his preparation towards this summer’s Tour de France.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the race but I think the weather is going to turn so I need to get my head ready for some wet and cold stages.
“I want to get the best result possible. With myself and Richie right up there, I’ll be happy to help him but also looking to take my own chances and we’ve got two good cards to play.”
It was less good news for Chris Froome, the former Ineos Grenadiers rider, who finished 10th from last in 130th spot, 52sec down on Dennis.
The disappointing opening day in Romandie, where Froome is riding in support of team-mate Michael Woods, came after Matt Brammeier, Great Britain men’s road team coach, said the four-time Tour de France winner was ‘a long way off’ from earning a spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Talking to cyclingnews.com, Brammeier said: “I recommend the team, I don’t select it but I can say that I think Chris is a long way off. He has said himself that he’s not there yet and he needs more time to get up to speed and to get to a level where he’s fighting for that spot.
“We’ve got four spots and it’s not an easy team to fight your way into. Unfortunately, it’s not looking great for Chris on my behalf anyway.”