The Tour de Romandie prologue proved to be a testing day for BMC Racing with co-leader Tejay van Garderen hitting the deck as the wet weather added the difficulty of the parcours. Tom Bohli was the best-placed rider for the team in eighth place with Nico Roche also putting in a good ride to ensure the team's multi-pronged GC approach for the WorldTour stage race remains intact.
Richie Porte opted for a cautious approach to the prologue to finish in 108th place, 33 seconds down on the winner Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) and one second ahead of van Garderen. While Porte conceded time to rivals such as Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Bob Jungels (QuickStep-Floors) he explained he was content following his month and a bit break from racing.
"After the conditions today, I am just happy that I stayed upright. I felt pretty good on the bike considering I've had a bit of a gap between races. It was great to get the race started, and I am now looking forward to the next few road stages," Porte said.
Although Porte and van Garderen lost time to their overall rivals, with five decisive stages to come there was no sense of panic from the BMC camp post-prologue.
For van Garderen, the result was down on his ninth place from last year while his crash appears not to be as serious as the 2014 accident which saw him injury his hip. With the American focused on the Giro d'Italia next month, BMC's Dr. Dario Spinelli explained the injuries are unlikely to affect his preparation for the Corsa Rosa or the remainder of the race.
"Tejay van Garderen suffered some contusions on his hip, knee, and elbow as a result of his crash during today's prologue. His injuries look only superficial at the moment, so we will keep an eye on them but I do not expect there to be any other problems as a result," Spinelli said.
For sports director Fabio Baldato, it was an unfortunate crash for van Garderen, but he remains confident that his GC man can bounce back and perform well across the coming five days of racing.
"The road was really slippery, and on the third corner, Tejay van Garderen unfortunately crashed. There isn't much more to say about it really. Everyone was at their limit, and it was a difficult point on the course," said Baldato. "After that, though he recovered well and he was pulling back time quickly. For me, his condition looked strong, and his form was there, and it was just a shame that he crashed. But, this can happen to anyone. It's all about taking risks, and sometimes you can pay. Right now, it looks like nothing serious which is good as we need Tejay."
Baldato also singled out Bohli for his performance in the prologue with the 23-year-old taking confidence from his result.
"I've come straight here from Tour of the Alps, so I already have a big week of racing in my legs," said Bohli. "This is my first individual time trial of the year, so it was good to see where my form is against some of the best prologue riders in the world. I am really happy to finish in the top ten, and it is good to know that I can be competitive against the riders here."
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