Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the final stage of the Tour de Romandie.
The riders have set off for the neutral start on this 181km stage from Mont-sur-Rolle to Geneva.
The riders have set off for the start of this 181km stage from Mont-sur-Rolle to Geneva.
The action has started right from the flag and five riders are attempting to form a breakaway as I type.
That was a short-lived effort and the five riders are brought back into the comfort of the peloton.
We have at least one non-starter today with Marco Minnaard not signing on this morning. The Dutchman reported this morning that he had a possible fracture in his hand and a dislocated shoulder. That sounds painful. We wish him well with his recovery.
Several more groups have gone off the front but the gap is small. As it was yesterday, the peloton is being very careful as to who they let escape up the road.
Carlos Verona, Alexis Gougeard, Michael Storer and Pavel Sivakov have built a lead on the peloton. Can they make it stick, though?
Interesting to see a Team Sky rider trying to make it into the day's break. Is this the team looking to set something up for Bernal, or do the other riders have a bit more freedom after Roglic extended his lead yesterday?
It was a ding dong battle between Roglic and Bernal in the mountains yesterday. Bernal made several stinging attacks, but Roglic had the measure of them all and ultimately beat the Colombian to the line to add two seconds to his overall lead. This is how the general classification stands this morning.
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 12:59:09
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:08
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:35
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16
5 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:23
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:32
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:49
8 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:09
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:12
167km remaining from 181km
Winner Anacona is also in that group, making it five riders out front. They went clear after 10 kilometres of racing and now have 48 seconds on the bunch behind.
The advantage of the five escapees has grown out to 1:31 and it looks like we might ave our day's breakaway. The riders are already climbing on this rolling opening to the stage with the first climb with the first climb of the day coming up very soon.
It is perhaps something of a surprise that Thomas De Gendt isn't in the breakaway, after a typically aggressive ride at the Tour de Romandie. He's probably taking a bit of a rest after all but wrapping up the points classification yesterday. He's well clear of his closest rival Primoz Roglic in that classification.
1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 112 pts
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 81
3 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 80
4 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 60
5 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 56
6 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 55
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 54
8 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 51
9 William Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 43
10 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 38
With five riders up the road and no interest from the peloton behind, De Gendt also looks likely to seal the mountains classification too.
1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 43 pts
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 36
3 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 33
4 Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert 30
5 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 27
6 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 21
7 Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ 17
8 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 14
9 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 14
10 Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida 14
As the five leaders hit the first climb of the day they have three minutes on the LottoNL-Jumbo-led peloton behind.
Yesterday's stage saw Astana claim their second stage win of the race with Jakob Fuglsang escaping on the final descent to solo across the line. He said afterwards that he wasn't the strongest on the day but he used his nous to take the win. Read the full story here.
Meanwhile, as the bunch crosses the top of the first climb of the day, the gap has been trimmed a little to 2:40.
Winner Anacona is the best placed of the escapees in the overall classification, but he's 7:51 down and no threat to the bunch behind. They obviously won't want to let them get too far up the road, but there isn't an imperative to bring him back just yet.
We have former rider Philippa York out at the Tour de Romandie and she has written down her thoughts on how things played out yesterday with Bernal and Roglic going toe to toe in the mountains. Read her comments here.
Our countdown to the Giro d'Italia also continued today with Miguel Angel Lopez. I sat down with the Colombian climber during the Tour of the Alps, where he won a stage and finished third overall, as he builds up to his first tilt at the maglia rosa. He says that there's no pressure for him but there'll be plenty of expectation on him after his eighth at the Vuelta a Espana last year. Read the full story here.
139km remaining from 181km
The results from the first climb of the day have come in and it was Pavel Sivakov who took the maximum of five, with Gougeard, Storer and Anacona coming across the line in that order. After a little more than 40 kilometres of racing, the gap has grown out again to 2:54.
With the gap being so tightly controlled, it seems highly unlikely that the breakaway will succeed today. The peloton made a mistake earlier this week and let Thomas De Gendt take the win and almost gave away the race lead to Nate Brown before the American cracked. There is plenty of interest in the stage win in the bunch today.
It might not be a flat day out there but there is a chance for the sprinters in the pack. Michael Matthews went home earlier in the week, so he won't be there to contest it, and nor is Quick-Step pairing Elia Viviani and Fernando Gaiviria after they missed the time cut in the time trial. However, Bahrain-Merida have Sonny Colbrelli still in the race, and Bora-Hansgrohe have Pascal Ackermann. Michael Albasini is still in the race and someone like Jens Keukeleire can also hold his own in a reduced bunch gallop.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 29th Apr 2018 09:49:00
The gap continues to hover between 2:30 and 3 minutes with LottoNL-Jumbo keeping a tight control on proceedings. They will be a bit cautious of Sivakov being up there in the move, just in case Bernal tries a final day surprise.
Today is the second consecutive stage that Movistar has pt a rider up in the breakaway after Andrey Amador did so yesterday. The Spanish squad has been unusually quiet in the fight for the general classification at the Tour de Romandie. Jaime Roson and Eduardo Sepulveda have been their best performers but they are more than four minutes down in the overall classification.
We have two more climbs to come today, both of which are third category. The two intermediate sprints will follow that at the 91 and 151km marks.
Speaking of climbs, Sivakov have taken another five points for his pocket at the top of the second ascent. He didn't have any points at the start of the day so stands no chance of overtaking De Gendt in that competition. With only one more climb to come, the Belgian only has to finish to claim that competition.
Looking at potential contenders for today, I have realised that I missed part-time baker Samuel Dumoulin, who finished second in the bunch gallop behind De Gendt on stage 2. The Frenchman can certainly be up there today if it comes to a sprint.
@jebblehman Sun, 29th Apr 2018 10:15:56
That is a look at the run to the finish line in Geneva today.
A mechanical issue for Michael Storer, but he's quickly sorted out with a new bike and he's back into the leading group. How's that for service? If only my internet provider was as quick.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 29th Apr 2018 10:30:20
105km remaining from 181km
The latest time check for the five escapees has them just 2:25 up the road as the peloton begins to gradually pull them in. There's still a long way to go but they're keeping their eye on the breakaway.
Over the top of the final climb of the day and it is Sivakov once again that claims the points. No more classified climbs left but the road is still pretty undulating all the way to the line. We also still have two intermediate sprints to contest.
The gap is dropping further and the five up front only have two minutes on the peloton.
The latest episode of our podcast from Romandie with Philippa York and Daniel Benson has landed. You can listen to it here as you follow the final stage live.
As the peloton close in on them, the escapees have tackled the first of two intermediate sprints. Storer takes the points ahead of Gougeard but there wasn't much of a fight.
Having come down quite a bit in the past few kilometres, the gap has become a bit more stable at 2:05.the peloton seem happy with that gap for now.
A reminder of the riders out front in the breakaway and how it formed. Following a number of early attacks, six riders went clear after 10 kilometres of racing. They lost one before the move became a clear-cut one. The riders that made it up the road are Pavel Sivakov (Team Sky), Winner Anacona (Movistar), Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-Scott), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) and Michael Storer (Team Sunweb).
70km remaining from 181km
The maximum lead of the quintet rose to just over 3:30 early on, but it has been closer to around 2:45 for much of the day. With 70 kilometres to go, it has dropped to 1:45.
While the peloton look determined to catch the breakaway today, they will not want to catch them too early either. Ideally, they would like them to hang out there until the final 10 kilometres. If they bring them back any earlier than that then they will open themselves up to attacks, which will waste energy when trying to bring them back.
With that in mind, the gap has grown out again to above two minutes. This is an ideal gap, it's close but not so close that there will be too many riders thinking that they can easily get across to the leaders.
Here is a shot of the breakaway forming earlier on in the day.
The gap has tumbled again in the last few kilometres. 1:34 is the latest time gap for the escapees as we approach the pointy end of today's proceedings.
As the breakaway come closer to the peloton, LottoNL-Jumbo are getting some outside help with Bahrain-Merida and Bora-Hansgrohe moving up towards the front.
Of the potential contenders I mentioned earlier, Colbrelli and Ackermann are probably the best options. Colbrelli has twice finished second this week, and while Ackermann has had a pretty quiet Romandie so far, he has put in some solid results in the first part of the season.
The average speed of today's stage so far, according to the organisers, has been a tidy 41.6kph. Not brutally fast but a fair lick nonetheless.
44km remaining from 181km
The gap has really tumbled and with 44km to go the peloton can almost see the breakaway on this long stretch of road. The advantage of the escapees is a slim 1:12 over the bunch.
Bora-Hansgrohe is setting the pace with Bahrain-Merida on their wheel. Team Sky have also moved up ahead of LottoNL-Jumbo at the front of the bunch, which is lined out under the speed.
Bernal is sitting at the back of the Team Sky train and one rider ahead of race leader Roglic, who is keeping a close eye on him. The pair really have at each other yesterday and is was great to watch. Roglic really has come along as a serious GC rider over the past couple of years.
Gasparotto moves to the front of the bunch for Bahrain-Merida and eases off the gas a little bit. The peloton bunches back up and the gap to the leaders goes out a little bit to 1:26.
This was Bora-Hansgrohe chasing down the leaders a short while ago on the descent off one of the non-categorised climbs.
33km remaining from 181km
After Bahrain-Merida eased things off, the gap went out to almost two minutes. Bora-Hansgrohe didn't like that and they've jumped back onto the front and are hammering it along to bring it back to 1:29 with just over 30km to go.
The pressure has strung the peloton out again into one long line. There are blocks of colour as the teams gather together to look after their protected riders. The leaders don't look too concerned as they roll through the second intermediate sprint as their advantage comes down to 1:12 again.
Gasparotto takes over again from Bora-Hansgrohe and this time there is no easing up. This is a concerted effort to bring the escapees back now.
Under a minute now for the five leaders who are still rolling through the turns with nobody shirking their responsibilities.
26km remaining from 181km
Riders are having difficulty holding on at the back of the bunch. There are probably quite a few tired legs from yesterday, and the week in general. This is a bruising pace coming from Bahrain and Bora as the gap falls to 48 seconds.
Just 39 seconds remaining and at this rate the catch could be made with 20 kilometres still to go. How long can the breakaway hold out?
This will be the first real chance we'll get to see the sprinters go head-to-head in this race. Stage 1 was too hard for most of the sprinters and stage 2 ended up with the breakaway succeeding. This is the last opportunity for the teams to come away with something to smile about and we can expect a hotly contested sprint.
Interestingly, I haven't seen AG2R La Mondiale or Samuel Dumoulin near the front of the bunch. They put Alexis Gougeard into the breakaway, so have given themselves a bit free card in this finale.
21km remaining from 181km
With just over 20km to go the five escapees have only 20 seconds on the peloton. Will we see any attacks from the bunch? It's going to be hard at this speed.
One of the riders having trouble staying on the back of the peloton is Thomas De Gendt. He's had a busy week and won't be too concerned about time loss. He just needs to finish. Hugh Carthy is also near the back and has been for a while. He's wearing the mountains classification jersey despite being third in the classification, with De Gendt and Bernal leading other competitions.
16km remaining from 181km
There are several bits of road furniture, and twists and turns, in the last 20km of today's stage. There's also a sharp left turn in the final 100 metres of the stage, which could catch some riders out.
The gap is now just 20 seconds for the five leaders. It did come down to 14 seconds at one point but they pulled it out a little bit. This is a real tustle at the moment. The leaders have an advantage when the road gets twisty.
More teams coming up towards the front as the gap drops down to 14 seconds again. The GC teams are concerned with protecting their riders up until the three-kilometre mark to avoid losing any time if there is a crash.
13km remaining from 181km
Under 10 seconds for the leaders now and the catch is almost upon us.
The leaders have been caught with 11 kilometres to go. I wasn't too far off with my 10km guesstimate. No time for handshakes as the pace is well and truely on.
The leaders have been caught with 11 kilometres to go. I wasn't too far off with my 10km guesstimate. No time for handshakes as the pace is well and truly on.
Meanwhile, Silvan Dillier is making his way through the cars. It's not clear if he had a crash or a mechanical issue.
9km remaining from 181km
Verona and Anacona are just hanging off the front of the peloton. Verona wasn't ready to give up and he flicks the wheel for the Movistar rider to come through but Anacona says no and they are reeled back in.
It's still very mich Bahrain-Merida and Bora-Hansgrohe at the front setting the pace but Astana has moved up just behind them with LottoNL-Jumbo and Team Sky just behind. Are Astana looking for another stage win or just protecting Fuglsang's fourth place?
Attack. One of the EF Education First riders has gone on the attack.
The other teams were not expecting that and he came flying up the left side of the road. It's not clear who it is exactly.
The team says that it's William Clarke who was in a breakaway earlier this week.
7km remaining from 181km
His gap is only a couple of hundred metres and he's going to have a challenge holding out all the way to the line.
The peloton don't look too stressed in their chase of the Australian. He's only got about 50-100 metres on them at present.
5km remaining from 181km
An injection of pace from Bora-Hansgrohe shuts the move down and it is gruppo compatto once again.
The peloton has vastly diminished in numbers during this chase and looks to be only around 40-50 riders as we approach the last few kilometres.
3km remaining from 181km
Ion Izagirre now puts in a turn on the front. He's giving everything he's got left.
Under 3km to go and the GC teams move back as the sprint teams jostle for position. Team Sky are coming up with Barnal though. Are they looking for some bonus seconds on the line?
1km remaining from 181km
Roglic has moved up the bunch on his own. He doesn't want Bernal to get the jump on him.
Bernal is second rider behind Luke Rowe but they move off under the flamme rouge.
It's now Bahrain with Colbrelli at the front of the bunch.
An attack from BMC
Colbrelli is boxed in
Ackerman takes it by a country mile.
The top 10 from today's stage
1 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 04:09:51
2 Michael Morkov (Den) Quick-Step Floors
3 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5 RŸdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7 Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
10 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
And there was no change at the top of the overall standings with Roglic beating Bernal by eight seconds.
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 17:09:00
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 00:00:08
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 00:00:35
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:01:16
5 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 00:01:23
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:02:32
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 00:02:49
8 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:03:09
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:03:12
Bahrain-Merida did a solid job in the final of that stage but Colbrelli managed to get himself boxed in on that final corner, which left him way too far back when the sprint wound up. Ackermann saved his best for last this week with a hugely strong sprint that nobody could get onto. A good effort from MIchael Morkov, too, after Quick-Step Floors main sprinters missed the time cut on Friday.
“I never will forget it. Two weeks ago after the Amstel Gold Race I said to my team manager that I will win one stage in Romandie. I’m so happy. It’s amazing,” Ackermann said after the finish.
“The team made an amazing job not only today but on the other days because they had to carry me all over the mountains and it was not just about today.
“After yesterday, when we finished the stage we said now we win tomorrow. I had the best lead-out man in the race and he did an amazing job and the rest of the team did an amazing job. It was perfect. It was horrible the last days, I was dying every day but my team said we have to go and we made it to the finish."
Here is Ackermann crossing the line.
Here is what Roglic had to say after his overall victory.
“I think we are all really happy with this win. With the whole team I think that we showed we are really strong, we have really strong guys and it was a pleasure to work with them and to win in the end,” said Roglic.
“Every day was a really hard day. I think that the prologue helped to decide things and then the next day was hard and of course the mountain time trial and yesterday completed the racing here in the Tour of Romandie. “I was optimistic before [the time trial]. I was really strong before and it was nice to see that I could do a good job.”
And here is your overall winner of the 2018 Tour de Romandie.
@alexdowsett Sun, 29th Apr 2018 13:27:11
For our report, results and images from today's stage of the Tour de Romandie then click here.
That is it from us today at the Tour de Romandie. Keep tuned to Cyclingnews from reactions from the race and our next live coverage will be next week when the Giro d'Italia begins. See you then!
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