Peter Sagan puts the power down to take commanding Tour de Romandie sprint victory on first road stage
A 168.1km circuitous parcours was waiting for the riders on the first road stage of the Tour de Romandie. The race would ascend the third category 3 La Rasse climb before taking on four laps of a 33km circuit over two third category climbs before a final push to the finish line in Martigny. While the stage looked like one for the sprinters, this didn’t stop a group of six brave riders going it alone almost as soon as the stage started. Having built up a lead of more than six minutes in the opening 50km, the peloton kicked into action, to slowly reduce the time gap, which fell to four minutes with 100km to go. As the breakaway riders began to attack each other with 50km to go, Juraj Sagan and Jordi Meeus took to the front of the peloton to help bring them back, his efforts seeing the escape’s advantage fall to two minutes, before hitting one minute with 35km left to race. In spite of the break’s last-ditch efforts and one rider desperately holding on, with Marcus Burghardt and Ben Zwiehoff pushing the pace, it was all back together just as the race completed the final lap of the circuit and started the flat 22km drive to the finish line. The fast pace saw splits in the peloton, as well as attacks, but with Ben driving the pace on the front to prevent further attacks, Peter Sagan was staying safe and making sure he was in contention for when the flamme rouge appeared on the horizon. With the metres counting down, the Slovak rider picked his moment perfectly, putting the power down and distancing his rivals, coming from four riders back to take a clear victory. Finishing safely with the bunch and not losing any time today, Wilco Kelderman would have his sights set on the coming mountain stages, with the GC race set to take shape here.
01 P.Sagan 4h12’40”
02 S.Colbrelli + 0:00
03 P.Bevin + 0:00
From the Finish Line
"I'm really happy to win again in the Tour de Romandie. In 2010 I had taken the first road stage and here I am eleven years later with another victory. I have to thank my teammates for their great job today, in the last two laps they were pulling in the front and after the last climb, they held the bunch together. It feels nice after three weeks without any racing to come here and win, probably the only stage suited to me because the following ones will be very hard. Thanks as well to the whole team and its sponsors for their continuous support." – Peter Sagan
"It was a nice stage for us today but a hard one as well, with 2,600 metres of altitude gain. The goal we had set was to win, we all worked towards it and we achieved it! We controlled from the start to avoid having a big breakaway group, Juraj, Jordi, and Burgi put in a big effort to keep things under control. Juraj and Jordi contributed to catching the break while Burgi placed the squad in the right position before the final climb. Then, Ben was essential in bringing back all the late attacks in the closing, flat, kilometres. This excellent teamwork was finally capped off with a good sprint by Peter and a stage win. Last but certainly not least, Wilco was always in the leading, front group and finished safely with the main GC contenders." – Jan Valach, Sports Director