Tour de Romandie: Sky pip Orica-GreenEdge in team time trial

Team Sky edged out Orica-GreenEdge by just 0.63 of a second to claim victory in the opening team time trial of the Tour de Romandie and place Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey of race leader.

The two teams could scarcely be separated on the rolling 19.2km course from Vallée du Joux to Juraparc, and they were level at the intermediate checkpoint after 15 kilometres. The finale included the climb of the Mont d'Orzeires and that, perhaps, made the critical difference.

While Orica-GreenEdge were reduced to the bare minimum of five riders by the time they crested the summit, Sky, the last team to take the start, still had seven riders in place as they swooped down towards the finish, including two-time Tour de Romandie winner Chris Froome.

As Sky fanned across the road and hit the finish line with the new best time, the Orica-GreenEdge team, led by Svein Tuft, could only smile with resignation in the hot seat, where they had spent much of the afternoon after easily overhauling the early mark set by Cannondale-Garmin.

"It's nice to be on the other side for a change," said race leader Thomas. "We usually come second by a narrow margin so it was great to get the win today. The team time trial is something the team wants to target a bit more. We've always been up there but we've never really had much focus on it. We're looking to keep improving in that area, so it's great to win. We wanted to go as fast as possible and do the best ride to try and win the stage, for us all, not just to get the yellow. It's great for morale and to come away with the win is really nice."

The only team to present a genuine threat to GreenEdge’s time before Sky was Katusha. Led by Simon Spilak, who boasts a remarkable record at the Tour de Romandie, the Russian squad finished just five seconds off the pace. The display leaves Spilak, third at Paris-Nice last month, very much in the running for overall honours.

Etixx-QuickStep was the other squad with a fine team time trialling pedigree in the race but despite the presence of former world time trial champion Tony Martin and Rigoberto Uran in their line-up, they could only manage 4th on the day, 14 seconds down on Sky and GreenEdge.

Vincenzo Nibali confirmed on the eve of the race that he will not be participating at the Giro d’Italia but the Sicilian showed flashes of form at the Ardennes Classics last week and will be eager to secure the first major results of his 2015 campaign in Switzerland this week. It was a solid if unspectacular start for his Astana team, who finished the stage 17 seconds off the pace in fifth.

For Nairo Quintana and Movistar, it was an afternoon to forget, as they struggled to find their rhythm early on the course. They were already 34 seconds down at the 15-kilometre mark and coughed up another six seconds in the closing kilometres to finish the stage in 10th place, leaving Quintana with considerable ground to make up in the battle for overall honours.

Thibaut Pinot and FDJ (7th at 22 seconds) and Matthias Fränk and IAM Cycling (8th at 24 seconds) will be rather more content with their showings, as they limited their losses to Froome, Spilak, Uran and Nibali.

Wednesday sees the Tour de Romandie peloton tackle the rugged 168 kilometres from Apples to Saint-Imier, a stage that includes the second category Col de la Vue des Alpes ahead of a rapid drop to the finish.

Thomas will carry the yellow jersey into the first road stage for the second time on his career. He won the prologue in 2012 before passing the jersey on to his teammate Bradley Wiggins, who went on to win overall. Froome continued Sky’s sequence in 2013 and 2014.

Stage results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team Sky0:21:19
2Orica GreenEdgeRow 1 - Cell 2
3Team Katusha0:00:05
4Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:14
5Astana Pro Team0:00:17
6BMC Racing Team0:00:19
8IAM Cycling0:00:24
9Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:00:40
10Movistar TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
12Trek Factory Racing0:00:42
13Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:50
15Team LottoNL-JumboRow 14 - Cell 2
16Team Europcar0:01:07
17Lotto Soudal0:01:12
18AG2R La Mondiale0:01:22


General Classification

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky0:21:00
2Elia Viviani (Ita) Team SkyRow 1 - Cell 2
3Ian Stannard (Gbr) Team SkyRow 2 - Cell 2
4Luke Rowe (Gbr) Team SkyRow 3 - Cell 2
5Christopher Froome (Gbr) Team SkyRow 4 - Cell 2
6Peter Kennaugh (Gbr) Team SkyRow 5 - Cell 2
7Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenedgeRow 6 - Cell 2
8Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 7 - Cell 2
9Svein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenedgeRow 8 - Cell 2
10Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica GreenedgeRow 9 - Cell 2
11Simon Yates (Gbr) Orica GreenedgeRow 10 - Cell 2
12Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:05
13Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 13 - Cell 2
15Simon Spilak (Slo) Team KatushaRow 14 - Cell 2
16Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team KatushaRow 15 - Cell 2
17Egor Silin (Rus) Team KatushaRow 16 - Cell 2
18Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:14
19Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 18 - Cell 2
20Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 19 - Cell 2
21Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 20 - Cell 2
22Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 21 - Cell 2
23Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 22 - Cell 2
24Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:17
25Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bmc Racing Team0:00:19
30Danilo Wyss (Swi) Bmc Racing TeamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bmc Racing TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Manuel Senni (Ita) Bmc Racing TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Bmc Racing TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:21
35Steve Morabito (Swi) Fdj.Fr0:00:22
36Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Fdj.FrRow 35 - Cell 2
37Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Fdj.FrRow 36 - Cell 2
38Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Fdj.FrRow 37 - Cell 2
39Arthur Vichot (Fra) Fdj.FrRow 38 - Cell 2
40Stef Clement (Ned) Iam Cycling0:00:24
41Mathias Frank (Swi) Iam CyclingRow 40 - Cell 2
42Marcel Wyss (Swi) Iam CyclingRow 41 - Cell 2
43Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Iam CyclingRow 42 - Cell 2
44Matthias Brandle (Aut) Iam CyclingRow 43 - Cell 2
45Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:00:34
46Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:00:40
47Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Thomas Danielson (Usa) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Movistar TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
54John Gadret (Fra) Movistar TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Crc) Movistar TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida0:00:41
59Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Lampre-MeridaRow 58 - Cell 2
60Diego ** Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 59 - Cell 2
61Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-MeridaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-MeridaRow 61 - Cell 2
63Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing0:00:42
64Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 63 - Cell 2
65Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 64 - Cell 2
66Matthew Busche (Usa) Trek Factory RacingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory RacingRow 66 - Cell 2
68Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory RacingRow 67 - Cell 2
69Stefan Kueng (Swi) Bmc Racing Team0:00:44
70Campbell Flakemore (Aus) Bmc Racing TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:50
72Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 71 - Cell 2
73Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 72 - Cell 2
74Chad Haga (Usa) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 73 - Cell 2
75Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 74 - Cell 2
76Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 75 - Cell 2
77Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Iam Cycling0:00:52
78Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida0:00:53
79Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:55
80Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 79 - Cell 2
81Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 80 - Cell 2
82Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 81 - Cell 2
83Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 82 - Cell 2
84Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 83 - Cell 2
85Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 84 - Cell 2
86Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team Lottonl-JumboRow 85 - Cell 2
87Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Lottonl-JumboRow 86 - Cell 2
88Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team Lottonl-JumboRow 87 - Cell 2
89Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team Lottonl-JumboRow 88 - Cell 2
90Rick Flens (Ned) Team Lottonl-JumboRow 89 - Cell 2
91Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:57
92Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:59
93Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:01:01
94Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team0:01:05