Report: Geraint Thomas the best in Romandie Prologue

Welsh rider Geraint Thomas was too good for his rivals in the 3.34 kilometre prologue in the Tour of Romandie. 

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The World Champion in the Team Pursuit completed the course in 3.29 and while the rain fell on the later riders and maybe hampered their efforts, the Sky rider was always going to be one of the favourites for victory. His triumph means Thomas wears the first leader’s jersey.

The course in Lausanne saw the riders race over 3.34km/2.1mile on a circuit with long straights and one corner which meant that the rain had minimal impact on the performances of the riders. Starting midway through the start order, Radioshack’s Nizzolo topped the leader board with a best time of 3:34 but his basking in the glow of success was short-lived, as Geraint Thomas of Sky came in right behind him with a new best time of 3:29.

Their times held as the weather changed and rain moved in to Lake Geneva, with Mark Cavendish (Sky), one of the later starters, joining them on the third step of the podium.

Thomas said to the Team Sky website after his win, “It’s a nice little win. The team told me I was racing here about 10 days ago so it was great to come over. I always knew that I’d be up there. Fortunately with the weather conditions, it played into my hands a bit but there was only really one corner. There’s only so much time you can lose in one corner.”

“For myself now it’s purely a team role. I’ll be there to help Cav in the sprints wherever they come and Bradley is going for the GC as well so I’ll be there to help him wherever I can. Coming from the track, I don’t really have the climbing legs at the minute. I’ve been used to 4k the last couple of weeks with the track but we’ll give it everything and see what happens.”

“The team has stepped up a level each year now. As we saw in Paris-Nice, it is a strong team. Obviously I’m not going to be anywhere near the lead come the end, but I think it’s good for the team to get the win and get the jersey. It’s always good for morale and I think we would have probably had to ride anyway along with BMC. This race means a lot to the team and we’ve got big ambitions here.”

“For the team whoever wears the jersey, it’s good. If I could lead out Cav tomorrow and he could win and take the jersey it would be great. As long as it’s within the team we’re happy.”

Meanwhile, the runner up Nizzolo explained “This was a surprise for me, but a nice surprise! This is not really my specialty since I’m not a TT rider. But this was a short TT and I tried to do my best. I don’t think I could have beaten Thomas if I’d done my ride any differently. Four seconds is a lot and he came here in his best shape after the Track Worlds.”

Radioshack’s Team director Alain Gallopin explained “This was a real course for sprinters or pursuit riders. Nizzolo really gave everything and he beat Mark Cavendish. “

Overall, it was a good day for Team Sky after the poor showing in Leige-Bastogne-Leige. Cavendish’s ride to finish third was a super effort, one that edged his Australian teammate, three time World time tiral champion Michael Rogers down to fourth by a margin of just four-hundredths of a second.

Sky occupy three of the top five places after the first of six stages. Sean Yates said afterwards “The goal when we came here was to try and win GC. I think we have more than a realistic chance of winning it come Sunday. Today was a bit of an extra bonus. If it had been dry, it wasn’t out of the question that Bradley might win the prologue. G coming off the track obviously has the ideal preparation for a three kilometre prologue. But a great performance on the track doesn’t always equate to a great performance on the road.”

“G has been around for a while now on the road and the course in particular suited him in that it was very high speed. He’s very aerodynamic and he also had the power to use to his advantage. His time in the final kilometre was quite astounding. He was flying!”

Stage 2 on Wednesday begins in Morges and ends in La Chaux-de-Fonds after 184.5 km/115mi. It’s a lumpy affair, no doubt with beautiful Swiss scenery along the way.

Prologue

1 Geraint Thomas Sky Procycling 00:03:29
2 Giacomo Nizzolo RadioShack – Nissan 00:05 seconds
3 Mark Cavendish Sky Procycling 00:06
4 Michael Rogers Sky Procycling @ same time
5 Kristof Vandewalle Omega Pharma – Quickstep @ same time
6 Julien Vermote Omega Pharma – Quickstep 00:08
7 Bauke Mollema Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
8 Stef Clement Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
9 Manuele Boaro Team Saxo Bank 00:09
10 Alex Rasmussen Garmin – Barracuda @ same time
11 Bradley Wiggins Sky Procycling @ same time
12 Michael Matthews Rabobank Cycling Team 00:10
13 Andrew Talansky Garmin – Barracuda @ same time
14 Martin Velits Omega Pharma – Quickstep @ same time
15 Wilco Kelderman Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
16 Michal Kwiatkowski Omega Pharma – Quickstep @ same time
17 Ramunas Navardauskas Garmin – Barracuda 00:11
18 Maarten Wynants Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
19 Luke Durbridge GreenEdge Cycling Team @ same time
20 Gustav Erik Larsson Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team @ same time

Other selected riders
21 David Zabriskie Garmin – Barracuda @ 11
28 Christopher Froome Sky Procycling 00:13
34 Bert Grabsch Omega Pharma – Quickstep 00:14
52 Matthew Brammeier Omega Pharma – Quickstep @ 16
53 Richie Porte Sky Procycling @
56 Andr̩as Kl̦den RadioShack РNissan @ 17
60 Thomas De Gendt Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team @ same time
80 Cadel Evans BMC Racing Team @ 20
100 Denis Menchov Katusha Team @ 22
102 Daniel Martin Garmin – Barracuda @ same time
123 Ivan Basso Liquigas – Cannondale @ 25
155 Johnny Hoogerland Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team @ 34

 

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