Tour de Romandie race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) came through the first road stage unscathed after his team controlled much of the stage from St-Maurice to Renens.
Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) picked up the win after sprinting to the line ahead Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) but Froome retained his six second lead over Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp).
Far more testing stages lie ahead for Froome and his teammates as they look to win the event for the second time in a row after Bradley Wiggins won the race in 2012. However Froome was pleased with the start Team Sky’s 2013 contingent has made.
“It was a good solid start from the team today," he said on Team Sky’s team website.
"We started off in total control of the race. Even when the attacks came on the final climbs the guys just stayed calm and we all stayed together. Josh [Edmondson] in particular and Gabba [Rasch] spent a lot of time on the front today. That was fantastic and the team rode really well.”
“There was a lot of road furniture coming into the finish. The sprinter teams took it up coming into the final. The main thing for us was just to stay out of harm’s way and save the legs for what is coming up."
The Tour de Romandie is an important stepping stone in Froome's season with the main emphasis on winning the Tour de France in July. He has already been earmarked as Team Sky’s leader for the race, with Bradley Wiggins turning his attention to next month’s Giro d’Italia. It’s still expected that the 2012 Tour champion will still ride this year’s grande boucle as well.
Froome has already tasted success this season having won the Tour of Oman and the Criterium International. However he came unstuck at Tirreno-Adriatico after Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) distanced him on the penultimate stage.
“It’s really good to be in this position and getting used to being in this position now going forward,” Froome said, mindful that far more demanding stages lie ahead in Romandie.