Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the mountain time trial on stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie
Hello there and welcome back to Cyclingnews' live race centre for more from the Tour de Romandie. It's stage 3 today an we have a time trial in store, but before you groan and head off to do other things, let me tell you that it's a mountain time trial.
Yes, the course heads uphill for all of its 9.9km, and it's set to be a pivotal day in the battle for the overall title.
The first rider, Tom Stamsnijder (Team Sunweb) is getting ready to start his ride. He'll be off in a moment, and the rest of the riders will set off at one-minute intervals in reverse order of the general classification. So we've a while to wait for the yellow jersey contenders.
Here's the course profile
Distance: 9.9 kilometres
Elevation: 785 metres
Average Gradient: 7.9 per cent
Stamsnijder, our first starter, is off.
@TourDeRomandie Fri, 27th Apr 2018 12:34:55
The LottoNL-Jumbo trio of Robert Wagner, Floris De Tier, and Lars Boom are all now out on the course.
While the early starters head up the climb, now's a good time to have a read of our stage preview. From rhythm and pacing to gear ratios, posture, and even bottle cages, Philippa York delves deep into demands of a test such as this.
Many were out this morning performing a recon of the course, and among them was Cyclingnews Editor Daniel Benson. Here's one of his photos that won't make you jealous at all.
We have one intermediate checkpoint on this course and it comes just shy of the half-way mark, after 4.4km.
Stamsnijder has just gone through in 14:59.
@Ride_Argyle Fri, 27th Apr 2018 13:00:29
More from the boss' camera. Here's Richie Porte in the final 50 metres with a couple of teammates earlier today.
Stamsnijder crosses the line as the first finisher. His time is 32:09.
Plenty more of the early starters coming home now. Rudiger Selif (Bora-Hansgrohe) has set the fastest time so far with 31:24.
Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty Groupe Gobert) comes home to knock a chunk out of Selig's time. 30:51 is the new benchmark.
If the climb looks familiar, that's because we've seen it raced before. Chris Froome won here on stage 4 of the 2016 Tour de Romandie, while it was also used in last year's Tour de Suisse, where Larry Warbasse won.
As Philippe York points out in her preview, it took Warbasse just under 30 minutes to complete this climb, and that was after 130 kilometres. These early times, then, are going to be way off the pace by the time our fastest finishers are in.
As I write that, we have our first sub-30-minute results, from Tom Bohli (BMC), and the Sunweb duo of Michael Storer and Chris Hamilton.
Storer has the fastest time so far, with 27:44.
We grabbed a word with Svein Tuft at the finish. The Mitchelton-Scott veteran clocked 30:39.
"That was a beautiful climb - really nice and steady," he said. "I went hard but never into the red - I know better than that. There are a few sections when you can recover but those are the stretches I need to push and make up time."
Here's Fernando Gaviria at the top. This is not terrain that's suited to the Colombian sprinter.
Gaviria fears his time of 33:22 may not be enough to even keep him in the race.
"I may miss the time cut. Someone like [Egan] Bernal will go maybe nine minutes faster," he says. "I gave it everything but I might be going home today. That was a really hard climb and yesterday I was dropped too. It's been tough this week but good training."
Sunweb are having a good day... Louis Vervaeke sets the second fastest time with 27:58, while Laurens ten Dam goes third fastest with 28:10.
Sunweb occupy the top four places of the provisional leaderboard.
And here they are a little earlier, that recon clearly paying off.
Philippa York predicted an almost exclusively seated effort today, and while that may be true of some, it's not so of David Gaudu (FDJ). The young French talent has barely sat down once as he dances his way up this climb.
Matteo Fabbro has set the fastest time at the checkpoint, beating Storer's time by 11 seconds. The Katusha rider is keen to make up for yesterday's frustrations, when a mechanical dropped him out of the break - which duly went all the way.
Another young talent, Pavel Sivakov, comes home and slots into the provisional top 10.
Fabbro comes to the finish now and takes the lead! 27:18 for the Italian - a full 26 seconds faster than Storer's benchmark.
Thomas De Gendt, who stayed the distance in yesterday's break and claimed a solo victory, has set the second fastest time with 27:43.
Kristijan Durasek (UAE Team Emirates) produces a remarkable negative split to take to the hotseat. He was 18 seconds down on Fabbro at the 4.4km checkpoint but makes up half a minute on the second half of the climb to clock 27:05.
27:15 for Mikel Nieve, who's here in a bid to get in form for the Giro after an early-season hip fracture.
Here's Victor Campenaerts. The Lotto Soudal rider is the European time trial champion but he prefers the flatter courses. He's pretty much the only rider on a TT bike out there - everyone else is using their normal road bikes.
Jesper Hansen (Astana), Winner Anacona (Movistar) and Hermann Pernstein (Bahrain-Merida) all post strong times to slot into the top 10.
Richie Porte is warming up. The 2017 champion has had a troubled start to the season and is here looking to - in his words - 'get it together' as he builds towards the Tour de France. We spoke to him about today's stage and he told us it's a hugely important test for his own confidence. Here's the full story from Daniel Benson.
New fastest time!
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) shows he's on form with 26:58 - the first rider to go sub-27.
What is it about Simon Spilak and Swiss races? Fuglsang was fastest at the checkpoint but Spilak has just knocked 18 seconds off. Watch this space...
Dan Martin, Steven Kruijswijk, Emmanuel Buchmann, Hugh Carthy, and Ion Izaguirre are all off as we near the top 10.
They're setting off, remember, in reverse order of the general classification.
And here is how things stand in terms of the overall.
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 8:14:25
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:04
4 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:05
5 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:08
7 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:10
8 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Sky
9 Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
10 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
Kruijswijk, shoulders broad and unmoving as he grinds up this climb, has gone fastest at the 4.4km checkpoint, nine seconds quicker than Spilak.
Tejay van Garderen comes to the line and the BMC rider sets the fourth quickest time so far, with 27:17.
Here comes Spilak...
Spilak stops the clock on 26:53. The Slovenian lost ground in the second half of the course but it's still good enough to put him into the hotseat.
Porte rolls down the ramp to get his ride underway.
Porte is on a road bike but has extension bars clipped onto his normal handlebars for that extra aerodynamism. He's the first rider we've seen doing that.
Dan Martin comes to the line now and has the fastest time! And by some margin... 26:38 for the Irishman - that's 15 seconds quicker than Spilak. He was 20 seconds down on the Slovenian at the checkpoint.
Egan Bernal, wearing white and red as best young rider, starts his ride. A lot is expected of the Colombian here.
Another young talent, Emmaneul Buchmann, is clearly on a good ride. He's just second down on Kruijswijk's time at the checkpoint.
You should be able to see the provisional leaderboard regularly updating on the right of your screen.
Kruijswijk is coming to the line and he's going to have the fastest time, by some distance.
25:58 for Kruijswijk!
That's a full 40 seconds faster than Dan Martin.
Gorka Izaguirre is off now, so that leaves just the top 5 waiting to start their riders. Here's who they are:
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
4 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky
5 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
Latour is off. The French time trial champion can also climb and is a real talent. What can he do here?
Porte on his way to victory?
The Australian is tearing up this climb, going 26 seconds quicker than Kruijswijk at the 4.4km checkpoint.
Buchmann arrives at the line and clocks 26:40. He faded in the latter part of the course but he's still third as it stands.
Geraint Thomas is off the ramp and underway. The Sky rider also has aero bar extensions.
Rui Costa hits the line with 26:16 for a provisional third place. Great ride from the former world champion.
Second place provisionally for Costa, sorry. Here's the top 10 at the moment.
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) - 25:58
Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) - 26:16
Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) - 26:38
Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) - 26:40
Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin) - 26:53
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) - 26:58
Kristijan Durasek (UAE Team Emirates) - 27:05
Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) - 27:15
Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) - 27:17
Matteo Fabbro (Katusha-Alpecin) - 27:18
Bernal passes the 4.4km checkpoint and he's nine seconds down on Porte but still comfortably up on everyone else.
Rohan Dennis, wearing the Australian national champion's skinsuit, is out on the course. Just Roglic left to start.
Porte is onto the hoods of his normal bars now as he springs out of the saddle on the upper part of this course.
Ion Izaguirre bounces up into the finishing straight, and he stops the clock on 26:56. Top 10 as it stands but there are plenty of strong riders still to come home.
Also into the provisional top 10 is EF-Drapac youngster Daniel Martinez, with 27:03.
Here comes Porte...
25:28 for Porte
Wow. He said he needed a confidence boost from today and boy has he got it. That's a full 30 seconds quicker than Kruijswijk's time.
Here's Porte after his effort.
Thomas is one minute down on Porte's time at the checkpoint. Not good for the Sky rider.
No one can match Porte so far...
Roglic is 21 seconds down at the checkpoint, Dennis 38 seconds down, Latour 42 seconds down, Thomas 1:02 down, and Rosa 1:16 down.
Bernal comes to the line and knocks Porte off the top step! Nine seconds down at the checkpoint, the Colombian stormed up the second half of that course to put 18 seconds into Porte. 25:10 is his time.
Bernal started the day 7th overall, 10 seconds down on Roglic. The race leader was already 12 seconds down on the Colombian at the checkpoint, so faces a big ask here to cling onto the yellow jersey.
@FernandoLlamas Fri, 27th Apr 2018 15:25:24
Thomas doesn't look in great shape here and is grinding his way up the climb. He'll soon be turning to domestique duty with Bernal set to take the overall lead.
38th quickest time for Gorka Izaguirre, who plummets down the standings.
26:31 for for Pierre Latour - that's fifth as it stands.
Bernal speaks to us after his remarkable ride.
Diego Rosa, who started the day fourth overall, stops the clock more than two minutes down on his teammate Bernal.
Thomas is coming to the line now and is about to put an end to a miserable day.
27:43 for the Team Sky rider, who slips well down the standings. He shakes his head in disappointment.
Not much later than Thomas, Rohan Dennis approaches the line, springing out of the saddle. 26:36 for the Australian, and that's the sixth quickest time so far.
All eyes on Roglic now...
Rolgic has saved this, has he? It's going to be close...
25:14 for Roglic!
Bernal wins the stage, then, but Roglic holds onto the overall lead.
Egan Bernal (Team Sky) wins stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie
Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) retains the overall lead.
Roglic went even quicker than Bernal in the upper part of that course. He was 12 seconds down on the Colombian after 4.4km but reduced that to four seconds by the top, which saves the yellow jersey.
Here's the top 10
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 25:10.7
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:04
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:18
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:48
5 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:06
6 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:21
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:25
8 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:28
9 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:30
10 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin 0:01:43
And here's how things have changed at the top of the overall standings
General classification after stage 4
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 8:39:39
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:06
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:27
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:02
5 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:17
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:22
7 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:42
9 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:55
With two stages left at the Tour de Romandie - Saturday's gruelling and pivotal mountain stage to Sion and the much flatter final-day ride into Geneva - this looks very much like a three-horse race.
Here's Roglic finding out he's still in yellow.
Here's Bernal in his flash interview. We'll have a story on the Colombian prodigy from his full press conference later on.
"My coach told me you need to do your numbers. It doesn’t matter the times of any other riders. I just tried to do my numbers and I won, and I am so happy for that.
"Tomorrow is a very hard stage, and for sure we will try but it will be a little difficult."
Well, Gaviria predicted that he might miss the time cut today, and his Bernal was the name he reached for when saying the best riders could go some nine minutes quicker. In the end the difference was only 8:12, though there were five riders slower than Gaviria.
Here's our report page, where you can find our stage write-up along with results and photos.
What a talent Egan Bernal is. 21 years of age, the Colombian, who won last year's Tour de l'Avenir at a canter, famously broke his contract with Gianni Savio's Androni team to join Sky for 2018, and he has hit the ground running. He won the Colombia Oro y Paz in February and was second overall at the Volta a Catalunya before a crashing out on the final day. A first WorldTour stage race victory is now well within his grasp here.
Richie Porte admits he 'exploded' in the final couple of kilometres. We'll have full reaction from the Australian on the site shortly.
We've just had confirmation that Gaviria did indeed finish outside the time limit, along with nine other riders, including Elia Viviani, so a miserable day for Quick-Step. Here are the other riders who were 'OTL' and are now out of the race. Add to that prologue winner Michael Matthews, who didn't start today after struggling the last two days.
Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
Enzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal
Nicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data
Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
Davide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
Robert Wagner (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo
Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida
Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
That's it from us for today. We'll have all the news and reaction from the mountain on the site shortly, and another podcast on the way too. And of course, we'll be back right here tomorrow for live coverage of the all-important queen stage. Catch you then.
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