Britain’s Ben Swift (Sky) continued his stellar season, winning the final stage of the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland on Sunday.
Swift won the bunch sprint in Geneva, out-pacing Davide Vigano (Leopard-Trek) in second and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) in third.
Swift’s Sky squad took to the head of the bunch as the race headed towards Geneva to reel in an earlier escape group and bring the peloton together for a sprint showdown. The plan worked perfectly.
Australian Cadel Evans and his BMC Racing squad successfully defended his overall lead after taking the yellow jersey in Saturday’s individual time trial stage. Before Sky took over the reins, BMC had put in big efforts to chase down escape groups and limit any time gains.
Overall, Evans finished 18 seconds ahead of second-placed Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) and 19 seconds ahead of third-placed Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana). Britain’s David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) held onto his tenth place overall, one minute behind Evans. It’s Evans’ second stage race victory this season after winning Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy in March.
Sunday’s stage win is Swift’s fourth major victory this year, having already clocked up two stage wins in the Tour Down Under and one in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.
Swift’s win tops a good week in Switzerland for the Brits. Only one stage didn’t feature a British rider in the top ten, and on that stage (two) Froome was 11th.
Tour de Romandie 2011, stage five: Champagne to Geneva, 164.6km
1. Ben Swift (GB) Sky in 3-50-51
2. Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard-Trek
3. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
4. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
6. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jap) Radioshack
7. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Yukiya Arashiro (Jap) Europcar
10. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar all same time
Final overall classification
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing in 16-51-49
2. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 18 secs
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 19 secs
4. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad at 31 secs
5. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team at 41 secs
6. Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank at 51 secs
7. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Radioshack at 52 secs
8. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha at 58 secs
9. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 59 secs
10. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-00
15. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1-18
Chris Froome leads the chase to set up a bunch finish for Sky’s Swift
Ben Swift takes his fourth big win of 2011
Final podium (l-r): Tony Martin (second), winner Cadel Evans and Alexandre Vinokourov (third)
Tour de Romandie 2011: Related links
Tour de Romandie stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four: Zabriskie wins Romandie time trial as Evans takes lead
Vinokourov wins Tour de Romandie stage three
Tour de Romandie stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Cunego wins Tour de Romandie stage two
Brutt escapes to win Romandie stage one
Tour de Romandie 2011: Stage one photo gallery
Tour de Romandie prologue: Castroviejo wins opener