Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) goes into the two most important stages of this year's Tour de Romandie within touching distance of the yellow jersey but was keeping his cards close to his chest as he looks to secure another consistently high place in a WorldTour stage race.
The 28-year-old finished seventh in a brutally tough Paris-Nice and followed that up with third overall at País Vasco before securing three top 12 finishes in the Ardennes. He is the personification of WorldTour consistency but with one stage in the mountains to Leysin and then the 18.3km time trial around Lausanne, he has every opportunity to turn another top 10 into a win.
"I've been feeling good in the first few days and I've recovered well since the Classics," he told Cyclingnews after his Bahrain-Merida teammate, Sonny Colbrelli, finished second on stage 3.
"We're going to see how things go with the hardest stage as to what we can do as a team. We've a strong squad and we saw that today with how we rode on the front. I hope that we can do the same tomorrow."
Izagirre's Romandie began with a respectable 12th place in the prologue. Although he conceded 12 seconds to the current race leader, Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo), he put time into all his GC rivals other that Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) who remains a real threat for the overall, and who beat Izagirre in the long time trial in País Vasco.
"At first I wasn't happy when I looked at my time. Then I analysed how I did against the other teams and the other riders and it was a bit better."
Having put time into Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Ilnur Zakarin, the Spaniard has the luxury of letting other teams and riders make the race in the mountains. That said, Izagirre believes that the time trial will be the most important day with regards to the GC battle.
"The time trial will decide the winner. Tomorrow we'll see Team Sky and BMC make the race. They have the strongest teams and we'll see what strategy they take. I'm going to try and follow because there are some good climbers here with Porte and Froome. I'll try and follow them but if I can try something I will."
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