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"It was a difficult TT where climbers had an advantage. I thought about a top 5 but never the win. Yesterday I did not have great legs. Today I felt that I was on a great day."

Photo: Sirotti

TOUR DE ROMANDIE

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
29.04.2016 @ 22:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) confirmed that he has turned himself into a bit of a TT specialist by riding to an impressive stage win in the Tour de Romandie time trial. The Frenchman covered the hilly 15.1km course in Sion in 20.21 to put two seconds into pre-race favourite Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and 9 seconds into Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep). The result elevated him to second in the overall standings, 23 seconds behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who did really well by taking sixth and gaining 8 seconds on Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha).

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Thibaut Pinot: I thought a top 5 was possible but I never expected to win

Thibaut Pinot brought his FDJ team one of the most important victories in its history, in addition to the Paris-Roubaix for Frédéric Guesdon and the Milan-San Remo for Arnaud Démare. 

 

"From the start, it was evident that Thibaut was om a very good day. This morning he seemed serene and tranquil. He said after the recon that he had good legs. When he raced, he immediately found his rhythm. After 1.7 kilometer in the headwind, he was seven seconds ahead of Steve Morabito who was in fourth place. There Thibaut realized that he was on fire. We had someone after three kilometers and there he had the best time, better than all the specialists but we did not tell him right away,” says sports director Yvon Madiot.

 

At the top of the long climb of 3.5 kilometers, Pinot still had the best time, 10 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin. Later Zakarin passed with a 13-second delay. Quintana was 8 seconds behind.

 

"It was a good ride for Thibaut but the descent was better for Dumoulin who is more powerful and he could gain back time. Julien Pinot who was next to me, told that it was going to be decided by seconds.He did not give up. He had the best time at the finish line and beat all the big rouleurs. He is super happy. Julien was still in the car and waited for the result of Zakarin and Quintana. And there, we screamed, you cannot imagine how it felt ! That's wonderful.”

 

While Pinot won the first WorldTour TT in the history of the team, three of his teammates were in the top fifteen. Steve Morabito was ninth, Alexandre Geniez  was eleventh and Sébastien Reichenbach was fifteenth.

 

"It's amazing because before the start we asked people to hold something back for the big mountain stage even if everyone wanted to do well. And then the guys did great and everyone has been in the mix.”

 

”I am very surprised,” Pinot said. “I do not expect to win today when I didn’t win yesterday. But I had better legs than yesterday. I am very happy with this result. It was a difficult time trial that suited me perfectly. A rolling start and then a climb and a non-technical descent. I wanted to do a good TT to get on the podium but I never expected to win.

 

"It was a difficult TT where climbers had an advantage. I thought about a top 5 but never the win. Yesterday I did not have great legs. Today I felt that I was on a great day. I checked the course on Wednesday and again on Friday morning. Steve Morabito long remained in the Top 10. I had his time every kilometer so I knew where I was going. 

 

“I take great pleasure from time trial. I use my time bike several times a week. The work pays off and I am very happy to do it here in this race that I love. We were really good in this stage. I checked it several times and then we had a good video of the route, turn after turn.

 

”I had better legs than the day before. I realized it during the warm-up. I did two laps this morning. Then I was informed of the time of Steve Morabito and I understood that it was good.

 

”In Porto-Vecchio [at Criterium International] it was a similar course and to have won there was good for the confidence. Having won three times during the weekend in Corsica removed the pressure.

 

“My team is strong and knows I'm consistent. I do not have to fear anything. They can count on me and of course it helps my teammates. It allows us to have specific goals. I think they are very happy with this win but I have not seen them yet.

 

“Saturday, there will be a lot of fight, but I have a very good team. We will try to do as well as today. I'm 25 seconds behind Quintana. It will be difficult to pass him but the podium is the minimum target. Quintana is vulnerable. He has experienced bad days, especially during the Tour of the Basque Country. Tomorrow I will start the race to win the stage and see where my opponents are.

 

“23 seconds to Quintana is not much and still a lot. I'm already happy to have taken time on Zakarin. Why not go for the stage victory and the podium in the GC?”

 

No excuses for Tom Dumoulin after second place in Romandie

Tom Dumoulin was the second fastest on the tough parcours, with a time of 20’23” and an average pace of around 44.5km/h. Tobias Ludvigsson managed to do a strong ride as he finished 13th.

 

Dumoulin is now 5th in the general classification, 50″ behind the overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) before tomorrow’s queen stage.

 

Tom Dumoulin said: “It is very disappointing to finish second again. I rode a strong time trial but unfortunately it was not enough for the win. I didn’t make any mistakes as I paced my efforts well over the course. Luckily I also didn’t feel any stomach problems anymore.”

 

Bob Jungels gains confidence for the Giro with great ride in Romandie

Racing the Tour de Romandie for the first time in his career, Bob Jungels rolled down the ramp rather early and rode hard, giving his all on the climb, where he set a time just four seconds slower than the one of Chris Froome. On the last part of the parcours, the 23-year-old Luxembourg champion upped the pace and overturned this deficit, crossing the line fractions of seconds faster than Team's Sky British rider and climbing to first place in the provisional rankings.

 

After edging out Froome, Jungels stayed in the hot spot for two hours, before Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) managed to improve his time of 20:30.

 

"I was targeting this time trial, because I wanted to get a good result and also to test my condition ahead of the Giro d'Italia. Yesterday, after helping Carlos Verona until the foot of the last climb, I took it easy and rode my own pace so I could keep my energy for today. I am happy with this result and with the fact that everything is going in the right direction before the Giro. This gives me a lot of confidence", said Bob Jungels at the end of the time trial.


Chris Froome targets queen stage win after great comeback in Romandie

Chris Froome rebounded well at the Tour de Romandie with a strong ride to fourth place in the stage three time trial.

 

After a setback due to a puncture on Thursday, the Brit set an impressive benchmark time of 20 minutes and 30 seconds on the 15.1-kilometre course to briefly occupy the hotseat in Sion.

 

Bob Jungels (Etixx - Quick-Step) went fractionally quicker to take third on the day, with the GC battle accounting for the top two on the leaderboard.

 

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) put in his most impressive TT performance to date to claim victory, two seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Sixth spot was enough to allow Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to extend his overall lead, with the Colombian heading into the weekend holding a 23-second margin over Pinot.

 

Geraint Thomas dug deep out on course to retain 14th place overall, now 1:48 back on yellow. Earlier Froome set off with purpose and, on a course featuring 280 metres of climbing, set a strong intermediate split on the climb. Mikel Nieve (55th, 1:22) and Salvatore Puccio (75th, 1:34) were the next men home for Team Sky.

 

"I went full gas because I do not have many opportunities to do a time trial before the start of the Tour de France. I loved the course. I hope to win tomorrow’s mountain stage,” Froome told L’Equipe.

 

"It was a really good effort from Froomey today in the time trial," said Sport Director Nicolas Portal after the stage.

 

"It was a course of two halves. The climb at the start was key, and then the descent was also really important, so it was not easy to pick the correct gearing. The descent was not particularly technical it was just very, very fast. There were a couple of really quick corners and in a couple of places the fastest line was between two traffic islands. There were just a few guys quicker than Froomey on the climb and then he was able to take some time out of Quintana on the descent. It's all good practice.

 

"Tomorrow it's a mountain stage so we will speak to the guys and look to make a plan. For us the GC is no longer possible so we'd really like to go and there and try to fight for a stage win. We will see how Froomey and G are feeling during the stage and see what we can do."


Jerome Coppel hugely disappointed to miss out in ’perfect’ time trial

“I am disappointed especially when I feel so good,” Jérôme Coppel explained after taking an excellent 5th place in the time trial won by Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).  “The route was perfect for me, but also obviously suited others.  I came in with almost the exact same time as Jungels, Froome and Quintana, since we were all separated by just hundredths of a second.  Already this season I have lost the Sarthe time trial by 30 hundredths of a second, but now to have lost by 66 hundredths would have been huge.  That will not stop me from looking forward, and I hope to be able to be fit still to help Mathias Frank on Saturday for the queen stage.”

 

"I did a good time time trial but I'm always beaten by one or two seconds. I'm disappointed. I was in the good in the first part and that's where the time trial ended more or less. I'm in shape, but it's not enough.”

 

Taking a strong 19th place in a discipline that is far from his specialty, Mathias Frank talked calmly and soberly about his performance. 

 

Mathias Frank defends himself well in Romandie time trial

“The strong headwind blowing during the initial kilometers made things a little tough and disturbed the rhythm. Fortunately I found a good flow after that, and had my legs for the demanding climb.  Then I managed to finish strongly by giving my maximum on that high-speed descent.  I can be satisfied with the thought that I did not lose my place (6th) in the general classification.”

 

IAM Cycling, the only Swiss World Tour team, displayed remarkable depth in the day’s time trial.  Four of its riders finished in the top-25: Jérôme Coppel (5th), Dries Devenyns (14th), Mathias Frank (19th) and Reto Hollenstein (21st).

  

Mathias Frank must gain 40 seconds on Ilnur Zakarin during Saturday’s queen stage if he wants to earn himself a podium position at that end of the Tour of Romandie in Geneva on Sunday afternoon.

 

Nairo Quintana: I knew that Pinot would be my big rival

Gone are the times when humble Colombians were left out of any fight overall when a TT was on the race schedule. At least, when it comes to Nairo Quintana. Stage three of the Tour de Romandie - a lumpy 15km course in and around Sion - brought an excellent Nairo Quintana in full contention with all his rivals, big or light. Ion Izagirre didn't disappoint either, the Basque offering a display quite similar to Tuesday's win in the prologue for a notably 8th place in the day, now sitting 4th overall at just 29" from his team-mate.

 

The route suited the Blues' two main references, with a gentle, opening 5km followed by a sharp 4-kilometer climb through the Route de Savièse, before a U-turn and a quick descent took the riders back into Sion. At the intermediate check, Nairo Quintana improved Ilnur Zakarin's (KAT) time by 5”, a gap to his biggest rival from yesterday he increased to 8" in the finale, managing perfectly the tricky street furniture. Ahead of the two finished Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who bested big specialist Tom Dumoulin (TGA) by 2" and put nine into Quintana who now finds the Frenchman just behind him in the standings, but 23" in arrears.

 

All in all, another day gone for the telephone squad with a good result, in the eve of the Swiss stage race's showdown on Saturday: 173km towards a double loop around Villars-sur-Ollon, which includes two climbs of the Barboleusaz (Cat-1) just 4km away from the finish zone.

 

Nairo Quintana said: "I'm really happy. I think we did a pretty good defense of this jersey and I hope we can continue to do so tomorrow. It was a beautiful time trial for me -  this performance really makes me confident for what's to come in a few months, when our biggest goal looms. This test in Romandie will be surely helpful for July. We've got to keep in mind that today's TT was a particular one, with plenty of difficult climbing, but we remain satisfied about what I did on the road today.

 

”I'm happy with my performance. We had to defend the jersey and I did well. The course suited me. It's a good day. It was also a very good time trial to prepare for the Tour de France.

 

"Pinot? His result didn't surprise me. He's been doing such good TTs for the last two years. With a course like this, I'm not surprised that he wins today. I had him written down as my biggest rival today, and I knew I had to go full-gas so he didn't mean a threat to my GC leadership. Plus, he's got a really nice team, with lots of good climbers, and they might become the team to follow tomorrow - dangerous for my chances. We'll keep all attention to attacks from them, as well as from Zakarin and his team; both will probably give it a try. My team is feeling well and all of them - Ion, too - will be giving their best so we can keep the jersey.

 

 “It was not the same in the Basque Country where it was harder. I felt fine and I did not know how Pinot was on the day. But it is certain that here Pinot is dangerous. He has a strong team, which will help. He is clearly an opponent.

 

 We will have to watch the attacks. Zakarin and Pinot will try. But we have a good team, in good condition. (Ion) Izaguirre will help me to control.

 

 “I do not need to attack. We'll see how our opponents behave, but tomorrow the key  will be to control and defend the jersey.”

 

Ilnur Zakarin: I am still not at 100%

A time trial was sandwiched between two climbing stages in the 70th Tour de Romandie with Friday’s stage 3 a 15,11 km course in Sion. Team KATUSHA’s Ilnur Zakarin had in mind to gain some ground after yesterday’s relegation.

 

”The main goal for today was to do this ITT at 100% and I did it. I felt quite good and this kind of time trial with a good climb suits me well, so I tried to do my best and I think I succeed. Of course, my shape is not at the peak, but I am where I have to be before the main start of my season at the Giro d'Italia. But I feel really good. I am third in GC and that's not bad. Tomorrow we will have one more hard stage, so I will try to improve my position in GC. We will see,” said team leader Ilnur Zakarin.

 

Zakarin was seventh at 17-seconds.

 

The yellow jersey stayed on the back of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who leads by twenty-three seconds to Pinot and 26-seconds to Ilnur Zakarin.

 

Rafal Majka hopes to move up in GC in Romandie queen stage

After yesterday’s tough first mountain stage, riders faced an Individual Time Trial before moving back into the mountains for the race’s Queen Stage. Far from being a chance to rest however, stage 3 took riders over a fast course on smooth roads which, after a short climb, led to a fast descent to the stage finish. Manuele Boaro’s confident ride gained 10th position on the stage, while Rafal Majka climbed into the GC top ten with a strong ride.

 

One of the first Tinkoff riders out, Manuele Boaro set a fast time on his ride, completing the course in 21:46, twenty-five seconds down on the eventual stage winner. His time was enough to earn him tenth place by the end of the day.

 

Rafal Majka was the team’s next-highest-placed finisher, coming in forty-five seconds after the stage winner and taking 23rd position on the stage. This performance moved him into the top ten of the GC, ready to face the mountains again tomorrow.

 

Looking back at the team’s performance, Sport Director, Patxi Vila was pleased with Boaro’s and Majka’s performances.

 

“On one side Manuele did a good time trial to finish 10th today – even though it wasn’t a super course for him he managed to be up there even with the hard climb, and getting a top 10 in a WorldTour TT is always good. Then Rafal did a good race, and the important thing to bear in mind is that he is where he should be. We managed it well, had a good pacing strategy, and overall he is in the shape we thought he would be when we came here. He showed very good power on the flats, then on the climb he was as expected – so we can be happy.“

 

The course wasn’t without its challenges however, and with some technical elements, combined with the climb and the speed of the descent, there was the potential to lose time, and even crash, as Vila explained.

 

“The stage was quite hard to interpret the timing and pacing, getting a balance of how long you can hold a certain power over a set period of time. The climb wasn’t that steady, then the descent was really fast, I saw we reached 90kmh with Manuele, and then there was a technical last three kilometres still going downhill with road furniture to negotiate. Ivan Rovny crashed but he was fine and nothing damaged.”

 

Tomorrow, the race encounters its Queen Stage. This will be an exceptionally tough day in the mountains, where the peloton will climb two third category and three testing first category climbs – the Col des Planches once, and the Barboleusaz, which is climbed twice, the second time to the stage’s finish. This 172.7km stage may well be where the GC outcome is decided. Vila knew this was going to be a hard day for the team.

 

“I think tomorrow’s stage will be a big battle and we can still jump over some people in the GC. It’s the Queen Stage and with the climb in the middle, 8km at over 10%, then two other steep climbs – it will for sure be a real hard day and I really hope we can keep moving up the GC.”

 

Tejay van Garderen: I was hoping for an exceptional day

Tejay van Garderen put in a solid ITT performance at the Tour de Romandie to finish in 11th place behind winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), and has made his way back into the top ten on the General Classification to sit in 9th place, 1’22 behind race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team).

 

"I was hoping for exceptional today but I guess I could say it was more solid. It was a good result in that I moved up into the top ten on GC. Now we have a really tough day ahead of us with Stage 4. I think if the team and I keep chipping away I can maybe move up higher in GC,” he sai.

 

"Tomorrow is going to be a huge day. I think the first climb will be a big one and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the teams who are a bit down in GC really go for it and try and shake things up. We'll see what happens and do what we can."

 

Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director, added:

 

“The objective for today was to get a good result in the ITT after the crash yesterday which Tejay was involved in, and the overall result on stage 2 which wasn’t what we had hoped for. Tejay put in a good performance today, which has put him back in the top ten on GC going into the Queen stage tomorrow.

 

“We’re not going into stage 4 with any pressure, not for Tejay or for anyone else. We’ll be looking for the best result for BMC Racing Team, whether that is with Tejay or with another of our riders who can take an opportunity. Tejay has nothing to lose tomorrow so we’re going to do the best we can on what will surely be a very tough stage.”

 

Strong Damien Howson takes white jersey in Romandie

Time trial specialist Daryl Impey and young Australian climber Damien Howsonfinished in 16th and 20th place respectively in the individual time trial on stage three of the Tour De Romandie today, giving ORICA-GreenEDGE two riders in the top twenty and the best young riders jersey for Howson.

 

The solid ride by Howson put him into the white best young riders jersey ahead of tomorrow’s tough Queen Stage after performing well for the team over the last few stages.

 

The undulating 15.1kilometre stage was won by Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) with a time of 20minutes 21seconds. Impey and Howson both produced strong rides with Impey breaking the 21minute mark by three seconds.

 

Sport director Neil Stephens was happy to see Howson taking his oppurtunities in the absence of an outright general classification rider in the squad.

 

“Damien (Howson) has really been riding well here at Romandie,” said Stephens. “He is developing very quickly into a promising all rounder and he deservedly won the best young riders jersey today.

 

“We wanted to have a good go at the time trial today, Michael (Hepburn) put in a really solid ride but the climb was maybe a little but too steep for his ideal terrain.”

 

“Daryl (Impey) is always going to be up there in this kind of event,” continued Stephens. “He rode really strongly and literally flew down the descent.

 

“Tomorrow’s stage is going to be very difficult, there are three major climbs in there and the weather forecast is not great. The Queen Stage is always going to be hard but we want to compete and we will do everything we can to be up there at the front going over the climbs.”

 

Davide Formolo loses white jersey after crashing in Romandie TT

It was an unlucky day for David Formolo.The Cannondale rider hit the ground and slipped out of the top 20, losing the white jersey to Australian Damien Howson.

 

"I hit a bump in a curve and the front wheel slidout. However I only have a few abrasions,” he told Spaziociclismo.

 

Another disappointment for Wilco Kelderman in Romandie

Martijn Keizer finished 22nd in the third stage of the Tour de Romandie today in Switzerland. In the individual time trial, with a tough climb, he only finished 44 seconds behind stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). Wilco Kelderman placed 31st.

 

“We were expecting better results than this,” Sports Director Frans Maassen said. “Wilco Kelderman wasn’t able to make the difference uphill, which he normally can. If he was having a superb day, he might have been able to move up some places in the general classification, but he didn’t.

 

"Steven Lammertink delivered a strong time trial, on the other hand. He was fast on the flat parts of the race and stabilised uphill. It was the same story for Martijn Keizer.”

 

Keizer was the fastest Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider eventually and was satisfied with his performance.

 

“I knew that it was going to be a tough one today,” he added. “There was a real climb in it. I gave it all uphill and this is the result. The 22nd place doesn’t mean anything in the end, but it’s still a confirmation for me. I’ve trained well on my road to the Giro d’Italia. A time trial is the best measure you can have, so this gives me a positive feeling.”

 

On Saturday, the queen stage of the Tour de Romandie is scheduled.

 

“The decisive part will be on the final two climbs,” Maassen said. “The bunch should control the race at such a level that it’s not an option to send Wilco in the early break.”

 

Disappointed Rui Costa: I couldn’t find the rhythm

Rui Costa is still in the top ten of the Tour de Romandie after the 3rd stage of the Swiss race. Hecovered the course in 21’06”, 45″ more than Pinot. Overall, he is 8th at 1’12”.

 

”Those who know me know that when things go less well, I'm not making excuses or trying to justify it. Not that the day has been bad at all, but there are days like this when it does not always go as you want. I did not feel bad but I could just not find my rhythm. It was hard in the curves. I tried my best. Okay, it was a less good day and the only solution is to accept the situation and fight to get back up in the standings. Tomorrow is the day of the queen stage and will be decisive for the final classification. I hope to be on a good day and be among the best. I will give my best as always,” he wrote in his diary.

 

Bauke Mollema welcomes rainy weather for Romandie queen stage

The 15.1-kilometer time trial at the Tour of Romandie tailored to those who can go uphill fast with a 3.7-kilometer climb tucked into its short parcours. 

 

Bauke Mollema, who sat 9th overall going into the stage three race against the clock, finished in a time of 21:10, 49 seconds behind stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr). 

 

Although he dropped two spots to 11th in the classification, the effort was enough to keep him in contention for a top GC result ahead of the queen stage, Saturday.

 

"I think I had a good start, and my sensations on the climb were okay.  I lost two places in GC but tomorrow is an uphill finish, so there is still a good chance to get back in the top 10," Mollema said. "Dumoulin and Van Garderen passed me in the GC, but that is not really a surprise in the TT. I am quite satisfied with today – it was a good test, a hard TT, especially the first 10K. Legs were good. 

 

"I may have lost a few seconds in the descent; it was a fast downhill you went like 90km/h, and you could not pedal anymore. Overall it was a nice TT, Switzerland always has good roads, no dangerous corners, and it was quite safe compared to some other countries."

 

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) padded his lead in the overall while Pinot's win moved him into second ahead of Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha).

 

Tomorrow the queen stage will be the decisive race for those vying for the general classification and the tough summit finish will likely select the order of the overall podium.

 

"If it rains tomorrow it might be better for me," replied Mollema, when asked about the expected rain in Saturday's forecast. "Of course, it might make it trickier, but it will also make the race harder, and that is good for me. I expect a big fight tomorrow, not only on the last climb but I think already on the second to last climb with around 40kms to go. We will do the final climb twice, and I already expect a big war the first time up. I'm ready."

 

Diego Rosa suffering from breathing problems in Romandie

“Unfortunately this Tour de Romandie is not going as I hoped before the start,” explained Diego Rosa. “I have some breathing problems and when the rhythm get higher in my ‘territory’, the climbs, I cannot push as I would like to...

 

“A big part of the team is suffering from some health problems so I can say this hasn’t been the luckiest race for us but the season is so long and we will have chances to demonstrate our real value.”

 

“What kind of rider am I? I don’t know exactly yet! (he smiles…) Apart from the jokes, I’m discovering myself day by day: I know I can be quite good on the climbs but when I’m in top form I can do good things in TTs in reason of the fact that, coming from the mountain bike, I can pedal alone for quite a long time,” continued Rosa speaking about himself.

 

“As I did on the fifth stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco this year when I did 130km all alone in the front but I can also win race with an uphill finish like I did last September at Milano – Torino, in my first victory with the Astana Pro Team jersey. My favourite races are the Lombardia and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, where I finished 10th last Sunday. But I’m sure I can do pretty good in some stage races too.”

 

“Returning to the 'reality', I have to say that for me it is a great honor to work for my captain and this year I will debut at the Tour de France where I’ll do my best and more to help Fabio Aru to obtain the best result possiblem” concluded Rosam speaking about the next important goals of the season. “After the finish of this Tour de Romandie I’ll take some rest and then we will restart with an altitude training camp with my team mates and captain, then Dauphiné, then probably a training camp again and the Tour.”

 

Merhawi Kudus works on his TT skills in Romandie

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka began the day with the hopes of Kanstantsin Siutsou and Cameron Meyer riding to a good result but it wasn't really to be the African Team's day.

 

Meyer started well and when he crossed the line, his time was good enough to place him 7th fastest. As the top GC guys came in though, Meyer slipped down to eventually finish 1'21" down on the stage winner, Pinot. It was still a beneficial day for the African Team riders though as they were able to test the legs in the time trial discipline ahead of the upcoming Giro d'Italia and Tour of California.

 

Tomorrow will be another day of climbing at the Tour de Romandie and they will be looking to support Merhawi Kudus once again. The young Eritrean sits 6th in the young rider classification and he will be looking to ride back into the top 3 after tomorrow's difficult stage.

 

Sports director Oli Cookson said:
 

“Today we had a really interesting course. There was 3km straight into a headwind, then it was a bit technical before the climb and obviously the climb had those 2 ramps with a bit of a dip in the middle. The descent was really fast, 90 - 100km/h into the final few kilometers which were also quite technical.

 

“The main objective was for Cameron to have a really good workout and also to see how Kanstantsin was feeling. It was also good to go through the full process of a proper time trial especially for Merhawi. He went through a full warm up and then he went full through all the corners and could really test himself. He looked super smooth on the climb and despite him being the smallest on our team, he went down the descent the fastest. He can be happy with his ride and this bodes well for the future as looking ahead, we can still work on his time trial.

 

”Cam was really solid, you can tell he is an expert just by the way he goes through the corners on the ski's. Looking ahead to California, today he was good, it's just the climb with those 2 ramps suited the bigger guys who were able to really power over the top.

 

”At the end of the day it was a good day, we had some good weather and it's just a pity it is forecast to change tomorrow. We need to prepare accordingly so that we can support Merhawi as best as possible.”

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