Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished ninth in the Tour de Romandie's final time trial to take 33rd place in the overall, and at the finish he revealed that he has been dogged by a small-but-recent back injury.
The three-time Tour de France winner fell out of contention in the race for the overall on mountainous stage 4. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) won the queen stage, with Richie Porte (BMC Racing) moving into second before usurping Yates in the final time trial. Froome was dropped on the final climb on stage 4, and in the 18.3km time trial around Lausanne he managed a respectable top 10.
"Of course I would have liked to have been up there on the queen stage, but the truth is I got to the final climb and just didn't have it enough," Froome told the media after his effort against the climb.
"I've been having a few small issues with my lower back, but at the end of the day I just didn't have the legs. There's still a lot of work for me to do ahead of the Tour de France, but I'm confident that I know how to get the job done."
Froome started his season in January at the Herald Sun Tour, and although he has not tasted victory in 2017 he appears confident with regards to his form. He has previously stated that he is taking a slower approach to the year in a bid to defend his Tour title and then conquer the Vuetla a Espana for the first time. The objective, he told the press, was to come through Romandie unscathed, although the blistering form of former teammate and race winner Porte will be a reminder that a fourth Tour crown will be far from easy.
"I think if I look at the objective that I came here with, to get a good week of racing in the legs, and with that to take me on in my preparation towards the Tour, then I've got through the week upright and without getting too cold in quite difficult conditions."
Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel.