Elia Viviani (Team Sky) responded to his non-selection for the Giro d'Italia by taking his first win of the season on stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie. The Olympic Omnium champion edged out compatriot Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Michael Schwarzmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) hours after Team Sky announced that they would not be taking him to the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia.
"Finally I've taken my first win after six second places. I almost lost the feeling of winning so today I'm really happy. All the team believed in me and from the start we had a plan," Viviani told Cyclingnews after his win.
Before the start of the stage, Team Sky announced their Giro roster. The big surprise was that Viviani has missed out as the team drew up a line of nine riders to support their GC ambitions. Viviani took it on the chin, telling Cyclingnews that while he was disappointed to miss out, he understood the reasoning behind Team Sky's decision. Not one to let the news get him down Viviani put his hand up and delivered the perfect sprint.
"We didn't pull at the start, and we just waited to see how I felt. The hardest part was after 120 kilometres when we had the two consecutive climbs when Orica also attacked. That was the hardest part but we managed it really well. Owain Doull stayed with me and David Lopez and Peter Kennaugh did the pace on the front of the peloton," he added.
With the finish in sight, it was Chris Froome who hit the front for Viviani. He helped stretch out the peloton before the rest of the team's lead out delivered Viviani to the line.
"Froome started the lead out. Moscon was my second man and Owain was my last man. When Edmondson from Orica went with 300 to go I was a bit worried that I might lose the chance. I kept trying and believed that it would be my day. It's been a long time since my last win on the road, but I'm back in my top form now. I hope to take more wins."
Saturday's stage sees the Tour de Romandie return to the mountains. Froome has ground to make up if he is to win the race for the third time. After three road stages, he sits 29 seconds off the yellow jersey of Fabio Fellini, although the Italian is expected to relinquish the jersey on stage 4. For Viviani it was a useful addition, having the Tour de France winner serve up a support in the finale.
"With 1.2 kilometres Froome started the lead out. We're here to win the GC with him but his focus for today was to not lose time. It was exciting to have him do my lead-out. They all believed in me."