Orica-GreenEdge rider Michael Albasini wins snow-shortened opening road stage in Switzerland
Swiss rider Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) won the opening road stage of the Tour de Romandie in his home country on Wednesday.
Jesus Herrada (Movistar) placed second, with Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) in third. Prologue winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished in the bunch to maintain his overall lead in the race.
Defending champion Chris Froome (Sky) was in a group distanced by four seconds at the finish, but moves up to 10th place overall.
The race’s organisers had been forced to shorten the day’s stage from 199km to 88km after snowfall on the Simplon Pass. However, the abbreviated distance did nothing to dampen the racing, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) putting in a trademark attack on the final descent off the second category climb of Lens.
Nibali used his superior descending skills to put over 20 seconds into the chasers but was caught on a flatter section before the line.
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) then put in a move in the final kilometre, and looked to have had the stage win sewn up before being swamped on the line by the bunch to finish in 10th place.
Thursday’s lumpy stage two runs from Sion to Montreux over 167km.
Tour de Romandie 2014, stage one: Brigerbad to Sion 88.6km (shortened stage)
1. Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-GreenEdge
2. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
4. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp all at same time
Overall classification after stage one
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 2-17-33
2. Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-GreenEdge at 5 secs
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp at 5 secs
4. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 6 secs
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 7 secs
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 8 secs
7. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 9 secs
8. Martijn Keizer (Ned) Belkin at 13 secs
9. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ at 13 secs
10. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 14 secs