Tour de Romandie Stage 3: Another Win for Meersman


Gianni Meersman won his second stage at the Tour de Romandie, winning the bunch sprint at the end of 181km Stage 3 on Friday. Chris Froome still leads overall

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The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s rider was led to the finish by several OPQS teammates, who did all the chasing for the peloton in the final kilometers to bring back a lone rider shortly after the flamme rouge. Meersman launched off the wheel of Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) after being led to the final meters by his teammates. He bested Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) and Albasini.

260413 OPQS - TDR Stage 3-Meersman Finish(c)Tim De Waele

Photo: OPQS-TimDe Waele

It was also Meersman’s fourth victory of the season. Meersman is now tied with Richie Porte (Team Sky ProCycling) for the most UCI WorldTour wins and OPQS has eight WorldTour victories.

“I was disappointed about my sprint yesterday and wanted to make it up today for everybody — my teammates especially ,” Meersman said. “They did a great job today, did a perfect leadout and I’m really happy with my second victory at Tour de Romandie.”

“It maybe looked easy in the final but it was not so easy. With 2 kilometers to go I knew the guys had something left in the tank to catch Malori ahead (Lampre-Merida). Tony Martin took me to the last 600 or 700 meters. It was perfect. As for tomorrow, I’m going to help the boys now. Before coming here I had three stages in mind. The first stage I won, then yesterday I was third, and today I won again. So, I am happy.”




Chris Froome continues to lead ahead of the mountains
The Team Sky rider was again protected well by his team-mates who took to the front to set the pace and chase down a number of dangerous attacks. With time gaps still tight at the top, Richie Porte dropped a place to fifth due to bonus seconds built up by the day’s winner Gianni Meersman. After the stage Froome again paid tribute to the work of his team-mates and the help they have provided.

“I’m feeling good,” he confirmed. “I’ve had the luxury of just sitting on the wheels for the past three days. And I have literally had a wheel to sit on all day, every day. The only time I was in the wind was in the prologue!”

“It’s been good for me but obviously there’s no such thing as an easy day here. The other teams have been attacking us and the guys have really dug deep every day. They’ve been fantastic.”

“The guys are tired but I’d like to think everyone is pretty tired at this point in the race. Tomorrow being the queen stage means it’s all to be decided I think – especially with bad weather moving in and up at those altitudes around 2000 metres. We’re going up some pretty big climbs.”

With tactics again likely to come into play at only a slender advantage to play with, Froome revealed that having team-mate Porte so close on the GC could play into their hands. He added: “I think we’ll see how we go on the climb but having Richie right there on the GC is a big bonus for us.”

“Like today where he slipped into a move and that put the pressure on the other teams to chase. It meant we could sit back a little bit and recover on the wheel. Tomorrow we might be able to play that card again but we’ll see how it plays out on the climb. Of course we’d ideally like to go into the final time trial with a bit more of an advantage.”

Sports Director Servais Knaven desribed the next stage by saying “Tomorrow is by far the hardest stage with four category one climbs. It’s really important for GC. We’re just hoping the weather is not too bad tomorrow. We are monitoring the forecast but we’ll see what happens if we do get snow. Hopefully we can ride the full stage.

Burghardt Takes Lead in KoM Competition
Marcus Burghardt (BMC) rode his way into the King of the Mountains jersey on Friday’s stage. Burghardt was part of the day’s main breakaway for the second straight stage and earned maximum mountain points by being first over the top of the first two climbs. With two days of the race to go – and a major mountain stage up next – he leads Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) by one point in the classification.

“It is normally not my style of racing to go in the main breaks – 99 percent of which don’t make it to the finish,” Burghardt said. “And tomorrow, they are expecting snow, so that might change the route anyway.”

Adam Blythe (fatigue) and Mathias Frank (illness) withdrew from the race.

1 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 04:19:03
2 GAVAZZI Francesco Astana Pro Team @ st
3 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE @ st
4 MEZGEC Luka Team Argos – Shimano @ st
5 LOBATO DEL VALLE Juan Jose Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
6 WYSS Danilo BMC Racing Team @ st
7 NOCENTINI Rinaldo AG2R La Mondiale @ st
8 FERRARI Roberto Lampre – Merida @ st
9 JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt Team Argos – Shimano @ st
10 FLORENCIO Xavier Katusha Team @ st
11 VICHOT Arthur Equipe Cycliste FDJ @ st
12 BAKELANTS Jan RadioShack – Leopard @ st
13 BILLE Gaetan Lotto Belisol Team @ st
14 NERZ Dominik BMC Racing Team @ st
15 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin – Sharp @ st
16 PREIDLER Georg Team Argos – Shimano @ st
17 MOSER Moreno Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
18 MARCATO Marco Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
19 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
20 OLIVEIRA Nelson RadioShack – Leopard @ st

33. FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling @ st @ st
54. PORTE Richie Sky Procycling @ st
126. KENNAUGH Peter Sky Procycling 16:04
127. EDMONDSON Joshua Sky Procycling @ st
136. CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 18:16

DNF BLYTHE Adam BMC Racing Team

1 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling 13:53:16
2 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin – Sharp 00:06
3 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:09
4 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack – Leopard 00:13
5 PORTE Richie Sky Procycling 00:15
6 FARIA DA COSTA Rui Alberto Movistar Team 00:16
7 PINOT Thibaut Equipe Cycliste FDJ 00:17
8 CLEMENT Stef Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
9 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team @ st
10 DANIELSON Thomas Garmin – Sharp @ st
11 KELDERMAN Wilco Blanco Pro Cycling Team 00:18
12 MOSER Moreno Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
13 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale 00:19
14 LOPEZ GARCIA David Sky Procycling 00:22
15 PLAZA MOLINA Ruben Movistar Team 00:26
16 MARTIN Tony Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:29
17 BRAJKOVIč Janez Astana Pro Team 00:30
18 KRUIJSWIJK Steven Blanco Pro Cycling Team 00:31
19 DYACHENKO Alexandr Astana Pro Team @ st
20 MORABITO Steve BMC Racing Team 00:32

123 EDMONDSON Joshua Sky Procycling 19:56
129 KENNAUGH Peter Sky Procycling 28:27:00
156 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 44:04:00


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